The colourful LGBT+ freedom flag can be seen flying over the Merton Civic Centre today to mark this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Janice Howard and members of Merton’s LGBT+ Forum joined council and community representatives to mark IDAHOBIT, an event celebrated in 60 countries across the world. This year’s worldwide theme is Justice and Protection for All, which aims to raise awareness of violence, discrimination and the repression of LGBT+ communities across the world. A minute’s silence followed the flag raising to remember all those who are affected by Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
Cabinet Member for Women and Equalities, Councillor Laxmi Attawar said: “We are proud to celebrate IDAHOBIT by flying the LGBT+ freedom flag outside the civic centre and working closely with Merton’s LGBT+ Forum to raise awareness of the stigma people can face because of who they are.
“The forum has been working hard to raise awareness of hate crime and to encourage victims to come forward and report it. We want people to know support is available and our police colleagues can take action against those who perpetrate hate crimes.
“Merton continues to be one of the safest and welcoming London boroughs and so I am asking everyone to show their rainbow colours and support for LGBT+ people”.
Patrick Lyster-Todd, from Merton LGBT+ Forum, said: “One of the things that I’m proudest about, as a resident in Merton, is the cultural diversity of the borough and the emphasis on community cohesion. This is something that we are really good at and demonstrates its an area in which we can all come together. IDAHOBIT marks our joint approach within the borough to address all forms of hate crime, of inequality and division. We are all so much better together and achieve so much more. By respecting our differences and learning and sharing from this process then we can rise above any challenge. In that way we can all own IDAHOBIT”
To find out more about Merton’s LGBT+ Forum, visit: mertonlgbtforum.org.uk or for information about Hate Crime and how to report it, visit https://www.merton.gov.uk/hatecrime