Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – IDAHOT.
Held each year on May 17, IDAHOT is celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.
1,600 events by almost 3,000 organisations were held in 2015, bringing together millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Sergeant Helen Riddell, chair of the A&S Gay Police Association (GPA) and South West regional lead for the LGBT National Network, said: “IDAHOT is a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities.
“No one should ever feel victimised or targeted because of who they are.”
“Here in Avon and Somerset, police are committed to promoting and supporting diversity across our communities.
“This includes us being an inclusive and representative workforce, with networks including the Gay Police Association working closely with departments and our chief officer group to ensure awareness of LGBT issues and support for LGBT staff.”
The force proactively supports a number of LGBT awareness days and events, including the Bristol Pride and Weston-super-Mare Pride festivals and in September, the first Trans Pride South West. We are also running an ongoing hate crime awareness campaign, #CelebrateNotHate, which aims to highlight gender and sexuality motived crime and encourage reporting.
This year, we are preparing our submission for the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and continue to reach out to the LGBT community through our representative workforce scheme, a recruitment initiative aimed at supporting the constabulary to reflect the diversity of the people we serve.
Our LGBT Liaison Unit are a mix of officers and staff who have special understanding and training on LGBT issues. Their role includes enhancing the relationship between the police and LGBT communities in an effort to boost trust and confidence.