The rainbow flag is flying proudly outside Greater Manchester Police’s Headquarters today in support of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
The flag was raised by Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Beverley Hughes, Founder of transgender support charity, Chrysalis, Steph Holmes and Bolton Pride Director, James Edgington.
IDAHOBIT is an annual event which takes place on 17 May, the exact day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The global event encourages people to take a stand for equality and show a united front against violence and discrimination towards LGBTQ communities.
The rainbow flag sends a clear message that Greater Manchester Police stands with and welcomes LGBTQ people and takes hate crime against them seriously.
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Beverley Hughes said: “It is important that we have days like today to highlight the damaging impact that homophobia, transphobia and biphobia has on our communities. In Greater Manchester we pride ourselves on being a place of acceptance and diversity, but we still have a long way to go until everybody in our community feels safe to live their lives openly as they are. There are still too many gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people who are subjected to harmful comments and even violence. These hate crimes will not be tolerated and it is up to all of us not to stand by if we see somebody being affected and to report it to the police.
“As Deputy Mayor I oversee the policing and fire services in our city region. Both organisations will be marking IDAHOBIT day at their respective headquarters and at stations throughout Greater Manchester. We hope this sends a strong message of unity, tolerance and hope, not just across our region, but throughout the country and across the world.”
Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said: “I am immensely proud of the diversity in Greater Manchester, it is one of the things that makes our communities so great.
“Raising the flag this morning celebrates this diversity but also demonstrates our commitment to supporting those in the LGBTQ community who experience hate crime and how seriously we take those incidents.
“I would urge anyone experiencing hate crime not to suffer in silence, to speak up and stand together against hate crime.”
In addition to raising the flag GMP officers will be joining the LGBT Foundation Mass Solidarity Selfie to help spread the message that Manchester stands together to support the rights of the LGBTQ communities.
Deputy Chief Executive of the LGBT Foundation Rob Cookson said: “By raising the rainbow flag the Assistant Chief Constable and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime have made it clear to LGBT people, here and across the world, that hatred in all its forms will not be tolerated in our city-region, and real and meaningful action will be taken to combat it.”