For the first 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 (May 17) to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).

To mark the event Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councilor 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 first 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.

“I’m delighted to be Lord Mayor when the Town Hall makes history and flies the rainbow flag for the first time,” Councilor Rotheram said.

“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,” he added,

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.

“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,” commented Tommy McIlravey who chairs the Liverpool LGB&T Network.

“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,” he concluded.

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