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Issue:- 13 May / 12 May 2009

City flies flag with PRIDE

FOR the 1st time in its history, Liverpool Town Hall will be flying the rainbow flag – a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride.  The flag will take pride of place on the roof of the Town Hall on Sunday (17 May 2009) to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).  This is the anniversary of the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation agreed not to classify homosexuality as a mental illness.

To mark the event Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Steve Rotheram, is inviting members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and their friends and families to visit the Town Hall on Sunday and get involved in a discussion about a PRIDE festival in Liverpool.

Visitors will be asked to take part in a short survey to share their views on where and when the city’s 1st ever PRIDE festival should take place, and what would they would like to see at the event.   Anyone attending will also have a tour around the historic surroundings, enjoy afternoon tea and be invited to sign the book of condolence for Liverpool teenager Michael Causer who was killed in an alleged homophobic attack.  As a poignant climax to the day, the book will be presented by the Lord Mayor to Michael’s parents, Marie and Mike.

Councillor Rotheram said:- “I’m delighted to be Lord Mayor when the Town Hall makes history and flies the rainbow flag for the 1st time.  Sunday’s event will be a great opportunity for people to not only enjoy themselves but to also get involved with shaping a future PRIDE festival in the city.  Homophobia is unacceptable and we want to do everything we can to promote diversity in this great city – for example we’re very proud of our annual Homotopia and Outsiders festivals which celebrate art and culture in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.  I hope as many people as possible take part in the event and it’s something we can continue for years to come.”

Sunday’s event begins at 2pm and throughout the day there will also be stalls promoting groups who work with the LGBT community.  Volunteers from Liverpool’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network are helping to co-ordinate the day.

Tommy McIlravey, Chair of Liverpool’s LGB&T Network, said:- “Many people still think it is ok to treat us like lesser human beings and indeed in many countries across the world gay and trans people are still punished, banished or even killed just for being born different from other people.  Even in the UK homophobia and transphobia, the special focus of this year’s IDAHO, are still rife and going unchallenged. The Michael Causer case was an awful reminder that even today in Liverpool a respectable, honest, loving family can be robbed of a son and brother for no other reason than stupid prejudice.  IDAHO has become a focus – not just for lesbian and gay people but bisexual and transgendered people too – for efforts to remind people about the oppression we face and to celebrate the contribution LGB&T people have made throughout history and still continue to make today.”

Arts In Prescot Confusion

ACCORDING to Arts in Prescot, there has been a bit of confusion locally as to the status of Prescot Methodist Church, some of which seems to have come from media mentions of Prescot Festival/Arts in Prescot events at the church. The group has sent this to help clarify of what is happening:- "The congregation of Prescot Methodist Church is not shutting down and will continue to exist. From June onwards, Prescot Methodist Church will meet in the Prescot Methodist Centre on Atherton Street, the church hall adjacent to the main church building. The Prescot Methodist Church building on Atherton Street will shut indefinitely in June this year, due to the rising costs of maintenance and repairs. In other words, the building will be shut, but the church and congregation remain."


FOR the third year running Merseyside Police is flying the rainbow flag in support of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on Sunday, 17 May 2009.

The Force is fully committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms and is visibly supporting IDAHO, which aims to provoke action to end homophobia and transphobia, by flying our rainbow flag at police headquarters. The building, too, will be lit up with lights in rainbow colours, a well-known symbol of gay and lesbian pride, sending out a clear message that homophobia in all its guises will not be tolerated.

This year Merseyside Police is joined in action by partners from our Police Authority, Victim support, Armistead, Homotopia, the Fire service and Altcourse prison

The Chief Constable, Bernard Hogan-Howe, alongside Tracy O'Hara, Chair of Gay and Lesbian Support Network, and detectives from the Force's SIGMA (Hate Crime) units will be raising the flag at Merseyside Police's HQ in Canning Place on Thursday, 14 May 2009, at 10am.

This year each station in Merseyside will have its own Rainbow flag flying sending out our strongest message yet that Hate crime and discrimination will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police.

Tracy O'Hara said:- "This will be the third year of our involvement in IDAHO and our commitment to the event stems from a belief that all crime based on prejudice and perpetrated because of differences are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police. This is our opportunity to make a visible, public stance to reiterate our commitment to eradicating discrimination in supporting an international event and to stand shoulder to shoulder with colleagues across Merseyside and beyond.  The Rainbow flag signifies freedom and fairness, and underlines the commitment of Merseyside Police to be inclusive and diverse and to provide a valuable service to all of the communities we serve."

As well as raising the rainbow flag, Merseyside Police, along with Merseyside Fire and Rescue and Victim Support are running fortnightly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) drop in surgeries in the City Centre to enhance the relationship between police and members of the community as well as providing an opportunity for people to report hate crime in a familiar environment.

As part of IDAHO officers, Citysafe, Community , Victim support and Merseyside Police Authority will be taking part in a many events over the next seven days to encourage people to report hate crime and to raise awareness of the services provided by the Force's SIGMA Units.

Did you know:-

The rainbow flag, sometimes referred to as the 'freedom' flag has been used as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride since the 1970s. The colours on the rainbow flag symbolise diversity in the community with red representing life, orange healing, yellow sunlight, green nature, blue serenity and violet spirit.

The date of IDAHO is particularly significant as it was on 17 May 1990 that the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders - just 18 years ago.  However, 77 countries continue to punish women, men and children because of their sexuality. IDAHO provides a platform for everyone to come together to demand improvements for quality of life overseas and in the UK and stop LGBT communities being sidelined from mainstream society.

The French LGBT campaigner Louis George Tin successfully campaigned for the day to be recognised by the European Parliament. Now in its fourth year in the UK, over 50 countries take part.

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