Sunderland to continue to fly the flag in show of solidarity with LGBT community

The Rainbow Flag will be raised at Sunderland City Council on Wednesday.
The Rainbow Flag will be raised at Sunderland City Council on Wednesday.

Wearside will once again show its backing for a day which celebrates sexual and gender diversity.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) will be held this Wednesday, with Sunderland to join in others from across the world by raising the Rainbow Flag at its civic centre.

A ceremony at the council's offices off Burdon Road will be led by mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson, at 10.15am in one of the last official duties in his term of office.

Members of Sunderland LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) Equality Forum, the city council’s Employee Equality Network and the local LGBT community will be joined by partner organisations including Gentoo, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, the University of Sunderland and Northumbria Police.

Representatives from organisations and supporters from across the city will also gather on the terrace outside the council chamber, to see the flag raised.

IDAHO - International Day against Homophobia was launched in 2004 and has since become internationally recognised. In 2009 it became IDAHOT when transgender was added to recognise the different issues between sexual orientation and gender expression. In 2015, biphobia was also added to the title, to acknowledge the specific issues faced by bisexual people.

​IDAHOT has also been combined with International Family Equality Day, to celebrate the diversity of modern families and recognise the discrimination and stigma faced by Rainbow families (where at least one parent identifies as LGBT).

The motto for 2017’s global events will be ‘Love makes a family’ which is the theme for this year’s international campaign.

Coun Alan Emerson said: "I am delighted to be here today to help our city mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and raise the Rainbow Flag on behalf of the people of Sunderland.

"It is wonderful to see that this year’s event focuses on families.

"Raising a family already brings many challenges, and facing social stigma and intolerance because of sexual orientation or gender identity should not be allowed to add to those.

“The most important thing for any child is that they live in loving homes where they are cared for and supported to reach their full potential.

"This celebration helps us to recognise this, and to show our support for Rainbow families right across the globe.”

May 17 has established itself as an important date for LGBT communities, with annual IDAHOT events in Sunderland offering opportunity to raise international awareness of the discrimination facing those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

​If you or someone you know has suffered violence or hostility because of your sexual orientation, gender identity (including Trans), race, disability, age, race or faith call: 0191 520 5550, calls are confidential

You can also report to the Police: In a non-emergency call 101 or if someone else is in immediate danger call 999.

For more information on the international campaign