Herts County Council and police celebrate Pride
Hertfordshire County Council has raised the Pride flag at County Hall today (Friday, August 13).
The authority is also sponsoring the health and wellbeing tent at Herts Pride, a ticketed event at Cassiobury Park, Watford, on Saturday (August 14).
Stallholders will include the council's adoption service, Change Grow Live and The Living Room (Drug and Alcohol Services), Age UK, University of Hertfordshire, services for young people, fire and rescue service, Sexual Health Hertfordshire, Terrence Higgins Trust and domestic abuse services.
Hertfordshire Constabulary's LGBT+ liaison officers will attend and the force's rainbow car, a fully operational patrol vehicle emblazoned with a rainbow design, will be there as a visible reminder of the constabulary's support for the LGBT+ community.
Supt Clare Smith, from the Criminal Justice and Custody Command, is the strategic lead for LGBT+. She said: "Herts Pride is always a highlight in our calendars and we're especially excited after 2020's event was cancelled due to Covid-19.
"Our friendly and supportive LGBT+ liaison officers will be on hand to answer any questions and we want to hear your views. What are the issues affecting you? How can we help?"
Hertfordshire's health protection board, a multi-agency board responsible for Covid outbreak management, provided extra funding so the event could go ahead.
Its chairman, Professor Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "Being able to be who you are at work and home is important for your health, and a basic right, whoever you are.
"Our best gift to each other and ourselves is to be able to respect others for who they are. That includes LGBT+ staff and Hertfordshire residents. That's why we'll be raising the Pride flag publicly this year. That's why we support our LGBT+ staff with pride and dignity. That's why our services will do their bit to include, support and celebrate all our residents and staff in all their diversity."
Cllr Annie Brewster, who will be leading the flag-raising, said: "It's concerning to learn sexual orientation hate crime has risen in the past year. We're resolutely committed to stamping out any discrimination, endeavouring to make Hertfordshire a safe and inclusive 'County of Opportunity' for all its residents.
"In working together, I urge those impacted by any form of hate crime to report incidents, however small, to the police or to a third-party reporting centre such as the Terrence Higgins Trust, Galop or Herts Young Pride. We want to be an example others will follow, coming back together after the pandemic, as an informed, inclusive and respectful society."
Council staff are invited to wear a rainbow lanyard at work to show they are LGBT+ allies. More than 600 have signed up.