Flying the flag for tolerance

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A NUMBER of organisations will fly the flag for tolerance tomorrow to mark an international gay rights day.

The rainbow flag, which is associated with gay pride, will be raised across Hartlepool for International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Hartlepool Borough Council, Hartlepool College of Further Education, the Central Library and Hartlepool United Football Club are set to fly the flag.

The event aims to raise the profile of hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) communities.

Hart Gables, which is based at 220 York Road, is helping to co-ordinate the event in town.

Hart Gables is a registered charity which aims to make it easier for LGBT communities to report hate crimes in confidence, offers one-to-one support and counselling.

Sarah Lewis, hate crime officer at Hart Gables, said: “People are under the impression that homophobia and transphobia have been stamped out, but it is still very much alive.

“We need to create a support network so that people can feel comfortable and come and talk to us.

“We are grateful that all the organisations have given their support and agreed to fly the flag.”

As well as flying the flag across town, representatives from Hart Gables will be walking to the top of Roseberry Topping, near Guisborough, on Thursday morning.

There they will hold a minute’s silence to remember all those that have lost their lives through homophobia and transphobia.

Hate crimes and homophobic abuse can be reported by contacting Cleveland Police on non emergency number 101 or for more information call Hart Gables on (01429) 236790.