Nottinghamshire Police has recognised IDAHO day, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Rainbow flags are flying at Nottinghamshire Police HQ and at Mansfield Police Station to raise awareness of the day, which aims to share the ideal of a world without homophobia or transphobia.
And the date is significant in that on 17th May 1990 the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
According to lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall, being gay is illegal in nearly 80 countries around the world and being lesbian is illegal in 49. Furthermore, the sanctions faced by gay people vary from banning marches to the death penalty.
While in the UK and in many other countries there are no such legal penalties, social discrimination is something which is all too often experienced by homosexual and transgender communities.
Nottinghamshire Police believes in diversity and the right for people to be able to live their lives peacefully and without prejudice.
Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: “As a Force we are proud to recognise IDAHO day and fully support the spirit in which it is celebrated around the world – in more than 100 countries. By flying the rainbow flag we are publically demonstrating that support, and our commitment to playing our part in eliminating the harassment and discrimination frequently experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual members of our community.”
The rainbow flag, also known as the Pride flag, is a symbol of LGB&T pride and LGB&T social movements. The version flying at HQ and Mansfield has been made for the Force and combines the six-stripe rainbow flag with the Nottinghamshire Police crest.
To coincide with IDAHO the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and The College of Policing has released the It Gets Better video as part of a campaign to end homophobic hate and reduce suicide among young gay people.
It features a collective of 36 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) police officers and staff from 16 forces.
Opening the It Gets Better video is Assistant Chief Constable Steph Morgan, the ACPO lead for LGBT issues, responsible for driving positive action at a national level within policing.
She said: “Growing up as a young lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans person is often day-to-day struggle which can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and suicidal feelings.
“We want young LGBT people to know It Gets Better; they‘re not alone; and we’re here to help.”
It Gets Better is a global online campaign with more than 50,000 user-generated YouTube video uploads of support.
The campaign is supported in the UK by Stonewall, which has received messages support from Prime Minister David Cameron and celebrities such as Katie Perry.
Alice Ashworth, Stonewall Policy Officer said: “Initiatives such as this are a fantastic way for the Police to reach out to the lesbian, gay and bisexual people in their communities.”
If young LGBT people are experiencing hate crime, they should contact police by dialling 101 or by reporting anonymously online at www.report-it.org.uk supported by the UK Gay Police Association.