Today’s blog has been written in partnership with Bristol City Council’s LGBT+ Employee Group
If you go past City Hall today, you may notice the Progress Pride Flag flying over College Green. This is to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), which since 2004 has commemorated and coordinated global action to promote LGBT+ rights on 17 May.
We want to make sure our commitment to making Bristol a safe city for LGBT people is visible, from lighting up City Hall for LGBT History Month to the forthcoming rainbow crossing we’re installing on Wine Street for Bristol Pride. But, as important as these visible symbols are, we also want to deliver real action. As a local authority, we’ve been working to put equality and inclusion at the heart of everything we do: from making sure LGBT staff have a meaningful voice in how the council operates, to improving representation and improving the city-wide response to hate crime.
We know that the pandemic has had specific effects on Bristol’s LGBT+ community. Loneliness and isolation have been particularly difficult for those cut off from their social spaces and contacts during lockdown. We also know that lockdown for many people – particularly young people – meant sharing their home with people who don’t know, or don’t support, their sexuality or gender identity.
The LGBT+ Employee Group have therefore made supporting colleagues through the process of easing restrictions a priority in the coming months. More broadly, I’ve pledged to commission a Mayoral Equalities report to look into and address anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in Bristol. We’ll work across the city to make sure Bristol is a city where everyone can thrive.
It’s not only through local action that we achieve equality. As a global city, we work with city networks across the world to promote human rights. In this spirit, we’re joining with our twin city Hannover in flying the flag to show our solidarity with cities who also want to make their cities safe and welcoming for LGBT+ people.