The colours of the rainbow have been flying proudly aloft at Sunderland Civic Centre.
The Rainbow flag, a symbol of support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, was raised above the centre to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
It was raised by the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Couns Barry Curran and Carol Curran, who were joined by members of the city’s LGBT Equality Forum, the Sunderland Partnership and representatives from equality agencies and forums from across the city.
Coun Curran said: “I am delighted to be raising the Rainbow flag on behalf of Sunderland City Council, to mark IDAHOT.
“Raising the flag is a visible demonstration that shows respect for all our communities.
“Sunderland is known for the friendly people who make up our vibrant city, however, it is important that we continue to challenge prejudice where it happens and today is great opportunity to celebrate diversity.”
Annual IDAHOT Day is a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities which began in 1990, when the World Health Organisation announced that homosexuality was no longer to be classified as mental disorder.
Kieron Brady, chairman of the city’s LGBT Equality Forum, said: “IDAHOT is now a permanent fixture in challenging the global prejudice that affects people who are LGBT.
“We hope that more people will show support for those who victimised because of their sexuality, or trans-identity.
“A number of partner organisations in the city have shown great commitment in this area, some have been recognised consistently by Stonewall.
“We will continue to work towards an equal society for the LGBT community and would call on other organisations, employers etc to embrace equality in a proactive and productive manner.”
The forum is open to members of the LGBT community and those from the private, voluntary and statuary sectors who have an interest in the issues affecting the LGBT community.
Along with efforts to promote the LGBT community, there is also work going to identify abuse and discrimination.
Anyone who feels they have been the victim of a hate incident, or have witnessed someone who has, can report confidentially by calling 0191 520 5550 or visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/hate-crime.