Updated: Friday, 31st October 2014 @ 7:13pm

'Homophobia still very real for people in our city': Manchester Town Hall flies rainbow flag for International Day Against Homophobia

'Homophobia still very real for people in our city': Manchester Town Hall flies rainbow flag for International Day Against Homophobia

By Sophia Rahman

Manchester Town Hall is flying the rainbow flag in support of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) today.

The day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders on May 17 1990.

This year IDAHO has fallen a day after four Iranian men have been sentenced to death for ‘sodomy’, leading the European Parliament’s Vice President, Ed McMillan-Scott to tell of the importance of the day.

Via Twitter, Mr McMillan-Scott said: “We must fight to decriminalise homosexuality across the world.”

Manchester City Council’s incoming spokesperson on gay men’s issues, Kevin Peel, said: “This is our way of saying to people who experience it that we stand with them and against those who try and drag us backwards.”

Manchester Town Hall and Piccadilly Train Station are just a couple of the sites showing support for the LGBT communities of Manchester and across the world.

John Leech, Lib Dem MP for Withington, this year tried to have Manchester WWII hero Alan Turing posthumously pardoned for ‘gross indecency’ for having a romantic relationship with another man.

Continuing his record of progressive politics, Mr Leech is supporting IDAHO, he said: “It’s incredible to think that just 22 years ago the World Health Organisation considered a gay man or woman to be mentally ill.”

The ‘Flying the Flag’ initiative is being lead by the Manchester-based Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF), whose work in raising awareness saw over 250 flags flown around the city on the 2011 anniversary.

LGF are also encouraging people and companies not in possession of a flag pole to ‘add an image of the rainbow flag to your email footer, or print off a poster and put it up in your reception area’.

Mr Peel went on to say: “As well as sending out a message to the world, Idaho is a way of us telling Manchester people that we take homophobia seriously.

"Although we have made great strides towards equality, homophobia is still very real for people across our city.” 

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*Photo courtesy of Alex Livet, with thanks.