The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Rainbow Flag is once again flying in support of freedom, equality and tolerance outside Epping Forest District Council Civic offices, celebrating LGBT history month.
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Councillors and staff led by Councillor John Philip, portfolio holder responsible for equality and diversity gathered for the flag raising ceremony at 11am on Wednesday 24 February.
LGBT History Month takes place every year in February to celebrate the lives and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It aims to promote awareness and understanding across the community.
Understanding begins with education and inclusion
Councillor Philip said: “I would like to thank councillors and staff for joining me today. Our society is built on the principles of equality and diversity, and I am extremely proud of the role the council plays locally in promoting those values. We have made great progress and a new set of equality objectives is being produced for the coming year which builds on earlier work and sets new targets to improve the lives of people in the district.
Understanding begins with education and inclusion. Council schemes as diverse Crucial Crew and the Reality Roadshow for school-age children and New Horizon’s for those of us aged 50 or more show that it is never too early or too late to build on those themes of tolerance, freedom of belief, and freedom of expression which are essential elements in any healthy society. We, as councillors and staff stand together with residents and visitors to our district in the belief that all people are created equal and should be treated as equal, regardless of race, cultural, nationality or sexual orientation. All people must have the right to live their lives in peace and within the law without fear of prejudice or discrimination.
We must remember that it isn’t the big ticket items that make a difference in equality. We need to make it become part and parcel of the way we work for and with our residents. Equality applies to all the councils business.
Whilst we only fly the flag for a day, our work to raise awareness of discrimination and to promote tolerance, goes on the year round.’