Rain­bow na­tion!

Po­lice sport­ing multi-coloured laces and gov­ern­ment build­ings fly­ing Gay Pride flags as UK joins day of di­ver­sity

Daily Mail - - One Day To Go ... - Daily Mail Reporter

Po­LICE of­fi­cers wore rain­bow laces in their boots yes­ter­day to show sup­port for sexual and gen­der di­ver­sity.

Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice tweeted a picture of more than a dozen of­fi­cers stand­ing in a cir­cle dis­play­ing their colour­ful ac­ces­sories, while oth­ers sported rain­bow lan­yards and epaulettes.

other forces and gov­ern­ment build­ings across the coun­try raised rain­bow gay pride flags in sup­port of the In­ter­na­tional Day Against Ho­mo­pho­bia, Trans­pho­bia and Bi­pho­bia (IDAHoTB).

MPs marked the day with a de­bate in Par­lia­ment on LgBT issues.

Rain­bow flags were hoisted out­side the Trea­sury and City Hall in Lon­don, the Scottish Par­lia­ment in Ed­in­burgh and the EU par­lia­ment in Brus­sels. Lo­cal coun­cils, hos­pi­tals and town halls also joined in.

The foreign of­fice pro­duced a video se­ries for the day and foreign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son tweeted: ‘Stand­ing up for hu­man rights, in­clud­ing LgBT rights, is an in­te­gral part of @for­eignof­fice work. So­ci­eties where peo­ple live freely at­tract world-class tal­ent, busi­ness in­vest­ment and are more sta­ble and pros­per­ous.’

IDAHoTB is the largest LgBT sol­i­dar­ity event in the world, with 1,000 events in more than 120 coun­tries. It be­gan in 2004 and takes place on May 17 each year be­cause until that day in 1990 ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was still clas­si­fied as a men­tal dis­or­der by the World Health or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Dur­ing the de­bate in Par­lia­ment, MPs called for Pride events to be held in smaller towns, where it is claimed LgBT peo­ple face their big­gest chal­lenges. Tory MP Bob Ste­wart, an exArmy of­fi­cer, said one of the bravest bat­tal­ions in the Sec­ond World War was recog­nised as be­ing full of gay men. Con­ser­va­tive for­mer ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary Jus­tine green­ing spoke about her ex­pe­ri­ence of com­ing out.

Mike Pom­peo, the US Sec­re­tary of State, re­leased a state­ment to mark the day in which he said that Amer­ica ‘ firmly op­poses crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion, vi­o­lence and se­ri­ous acts of dis­crim­i­na­tion such as in hous­ing, em­ploy­ment and gov­ern­ment ser­vices, di­rected against LgBTI per­sons.’ Le­ices­ter­shire as­sis­tant chief con­sta­ble Ju­lia Deben­ham said the day was a ‘great op­por­tu­nity to re­mind and re­as­sure ev­ery­one of our on­go­ing com­mit­ment to tackle prej­u­dice.’

But pictures posted on the force’s Twit­ter ac­counts, in­clud­ing images of of­fi­cers wear­ing rain­bow boot laces and rain­bow lan­yards, were not wel­comed by all, with some users sug­gest­ing their time would be bet­ter spent in­ves­ti­gat­ing hate crimes. Po­lice chiefs have pre­vi­ously been urged to aban­don so­cial me­dia gim­micks af­ter be­ing told they were un­der­min­ing the job of tack­ling crime.

Of­fi­cers in Avon and Som­er­set painted their nails last year to high­light the evils of mod­ern-day slav­ery and male po­lice of­fi­cers in Cardiff wore stilet­toes while in uni­form to high­light the is­sue of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice said that yes­ter­day’s rain­bow lan­yards had been paid for by in­di­vid­ual of­fi­cers and staff mem­bers.

Re­spond­ing to crit­i­cism, the force’s equal­ity unit – tweet­ing as Po­lice Di­ver­sity – wrote: ‘of­fi­cers and staff are still work­ing to­day and at­tend­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing “real crimes”, but they might be do­ing so wear­ing rain­bow laces or lan­yards.’

‘Com­mit­ment to tack­ling prej­u­dice’

Best foot for­ward: Po­lice of­fi­cers tweet a picture of their rain­bow laces yes­ter­day Fly­ing the flag: City Hall in Lon­don

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