A message from Bryan Manley-Green, Chair of Sandwell LibDems.
A rainbow flag has been raised at Sandwell Council House. However, it’s a real missed opportunity that it wasn’t with a little pomp and circumstance and publicity.
Some years ago, I was invited to attend the raising of the Commonwealth Flag, an organisation where one of its members (Brunei) recently saw fit to legislate to stone gay people to death. Through international outrage, this has since been reduced to life imprisonment and that’s why flying this flag is so important.
The flag celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, which used to be shortened to IDAHO, now IDAHOBIT, to increase its inclusivity. In reality, it’s a symbol of peace, love and, above all, tolerance.
Sandwell will never have the razzamatazz of Birmingham Pride, but this simple gesture sends a message to people like me and my husband that we are welcome – and Sandwell is a tolerant, open and welcoming place for all.
With the world seemingly turning darker and less open in places like Russia, Brazil and the US, this is a hugely welcome step and should make everyone feel a little safer. Perhaps we should shout about this progressive step forward far more loudly, encouraging people to be who they are, and embracing diversity in all forms.