June is Pride month and we are sending a clear message of support to Hertsmere’s LGBTQ+ community.
The Pride Progress flag was raised outside the Civic Offices in Borehamwood today (Tuesday 7 June) by the Mayor of Hertsmere, Councillor John Graham. He was joined by council staff, councillors and colleagues from the NHS, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Herts Fire and Rescue Service. A collection for the Herts Mind LGBTQ+ online support group has raised more than £100 so far, with donations continuing over the month.
Pride Progress is an updated version of the rainbow Pride flag, which better represents diverse communities. Pride flags are also being raised in Aberford Park in Borehamwood, Parkfield in Potters Bar, and King George Recreation Ground in Bushey.
Mayor Cllr John Graham said: “We are proud to be celebrating our richly diverse borough and workforce, and more widely, standing in support with the still-relevant fight for civil rights within the LGBTQ+ community across the world.
“June commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots, an event which marked a turning point in the gay rights movement in America and worldwide.
“This year marks 50 years since the first Pride event in the UK and the month provides an opportunity to educate ourselves on issues and advocate for further change, but also to celebrate the community and how far LGBTQ+ rights have come. It was a pleasure to gather with colleagues from both the council and our partner agencies at this flag-raising event.”
Data from the Home Office shows that LGBT hate crime based on sexual orientation have risen every year since 2016/17 to 2020/21. More locally, homophobia was behind one in eight reported hate crimes in Hertfordshire, in the year that ended in March 2021.
Hertsmere Chief Inspector Mark Bilsdon said: “We’re committed to working with our local partners to ensure that Hertsmere is a safe place for our LGBTQ+ community. We recognise the struggles you face and take this very seriously.
"If you are ever the victim of an LGBTQ+ hate crime or hate incident, please never hesitate to report it to us. We will do everything we can to support you and get justice. I would like to remind the community that we also have dedicated LGBTQ+ Liaison Officers who are trained to give extra support and help to you.”
Area Commander for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Steve Holton, said: "We are proud to support this year’s Pride month. As an equal opportunities employer that actively promotes an inclusive workplace, we aim to increase the understanding of LGBTQ+ issues within HFRS, raise awareness of LGBTQ+ events and visibly show support to all members of the LGBTQ+ community."
We are offering community grants to voluntary organisations and community groups that celebrate Hertsmere’s diverse communities and promote inclusion across the borough. These groups could qualify for a funding boost of up to £2,000.
Throughout June, our staff are invited to wear Progress Pride badges to show support to the LGBTQ+ community. These were purchased from The Pride Shop, where donations from sales support The Pride Fund – raising funds for Pride events across the UK.
For more information about Pride month and how it aims to support LGBTQ+ individuals and communities, click here.
Posted on Tuesday 7th June 2022