A special Be The Rainbow event will be one of many ways Cambridgeshire County Council will be celebrating LGBT History Month in February.
The event is one of several that the Council will be backing as part of its commitment to supporting equality and diversity as highlighted in the Equality Pledge it signed in November.
Last year the Council flew the rainbow flag for the first time during LGBT History Month at Shire Hall in Cambridge. To celebrate the historic occasion a multi-coloured; Be the Rainbow event was also held on the day which encouraged the public, Members and Council staff to form a human rainbow.
This year there will be a series of events to mark the national LGBT History Month, including another Be The Rainbow event on 23 February. Not only will Councillors and staff be encouraged to form a human rainbow with members of the community at Shire Hall, but will be able to show their support in various ways across the County.
The Equality Pledge plaque will also be put on display and schools and members of the public will be encouraged to attend screening of Free - a film celebrating the diversity of family and community- at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.
The Council will also be promoting the film 2020 Vision commissioned by local charity sexYOUality, which involves 20 younger LGBT people interviewing 20 older LGBT people living in Cambridgeshire.
There will also be a special event on Saturday, 27 February, 3-5pm at Cambridge Central Library with a film screening from the 20:20 project on LGBT history in Cambridgeshire. This will be accompanied by workshop and question and answer session.
In 2015 Cambridgeshire was ranked by Stonewall in the top three local authorities in the country for celebrating difference and working to tackle and prevent homophobic and biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
This year's events have been planned by the Council's Diversity Group which includes both councillors and officers. The group will also be looking at ways to mark and celebrate other significant events like Black History Month and International Women's Day.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ed Cearns, who signed the Equality Pledge on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council and is part of the group that has organised the event, said: "Public bodies across Cambridgeshire have backed the Equality Pledge. It is vital as a Council that we represent, support and celebrate all our communities in Cambridgeshire.
Celebrating LGBT History Month and other events like it shows our commitment to equality and diversity. Flying the rainbow flag and holding the Be The Rainbow event also allows us a chance to get across a serious message. I know from my own experience that many LGBT young people suffer bullying and mental health problems and by taking such an active part in LGBT History Month, the County Council and its many partners want to recognise LGBT people as valued members of society and give the message that there is help and support available. We look forward to celebrating the rainbow this February. LGBT Month will be just one of the many equality events we will be supporting in the coming year."
In November organisations from across Cambridgeshire joined The University of Cambridge in signing the Equality Pledge.
The Equality Pledge event was held during the national pre-launch celebration event for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans History Month 2016 hosted in Cambridge. It sets out how organisations in the county value diversity, the Equality Pledge states: "We believe in the dignity of all people and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community. Our aspiration is for Cambridge and the wider region to be safe, welcoming and inclusive."
Eilis Ferran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations at the University of Cambridge, said at the event: "Diversity and equality play a crucial role in sustaining the University's academic excellence. With more than 10,000 employees the University is a microcosm of Cambridgeshire's diverse population and by taking the Equality Pledge we are recognising and celebrating and supporting that diversity. We hope that other organisations and individuals will join us in this important initiative."
More details about the Be The Rainbow and other events during LGBT History Month will be released closer to the time.