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Rochdale residents wave the flag for diversity

18 May 2018

The Mayor and Councillor Janet Emsley with students and staff from Hopwood Hall College.

Residents of the borough of Rochdale came together to celebrate International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).

The rainbow flag was raised at the town hall by the Mayor to mark the day, which is celebrated on 17 May each year.

Afterwards, everyone was invited to Hopwood Hall College to learn more about the challenges and opportunities for diversity and equality in Rochdale.

There were stalls hosted by Hopwood Hall's LGBTQ group Hopwood Pride, Voices for All, Proud Trust Charity's Rochdale youth group, Butterflies and the Asian gay men's group.

Our community safety team also attended to educate people about hate crime and the impact it has on the community.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said: "Rochdale is such a diverse borough and it's great to see so many members of the community come together to celebrate equality.

"Thank you to everyone who contributed to such an inclusive and informative event, which showed that people in Rochdale are committed to embracing diversity."

Elena Summers, a level 3 business enterprise student at Hopwood Hall College and member of the Hopwood Pride group said:

"I'm glad that we live in a town where everyone from the mayor to my tutors can back this message and show it publicly. Our Hopwood Pride group have been really proud to be a part of this awareness campaign."

The rainbow flag being raised at Rochdale Town Hall. IDAHOBIT is the largest global event for sexual and gender diversity with over 1000 events taking place in more than 120 countries worldwide.

The day draws attention to the discrimination experienced by LGBT+ people internationally, as 70% of the world's population live under laws and regulations that limit freedom of expression around sexual orientation and gender identity.

Zoe Keenan, student support tutor at Hopwood Hall College and leader of the student Hopwood Pride group said:

"IDAHOBIT has been a brilliant opportunity to encourage a more inclusive environment for our students and staff. The day has helped bring a lot of attention to the promotion of inclusivity and shows it is a topic Rochdale really cares about.

"The young people I speak to inspire and surprise me every day, we should all be very proud of this generation who are standing up to discrimination and showing the world that they won't tolerate any form of discrimination.

"There is still a lot of work to be done around the world, but every day the students at Hopwood Hall College make me proud." 

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