Fifty companies and organisations in Merseyside have agreed to fly the rainbow flag or make another form of pro-gay visual statement for the International Day Against Homophobia in May.

Developed by Liverpool based arts and social justice organisation Homotopia, the launch of IDAHO 50 on 17 May hopes to create a high-impact stand against homophobia and transphobia in the county.

Some of Liverpool’s leading institutions and companies have signed up to support the day including Liverpool John Moores University, University Of Liverpool, Voodou, Liverpool Community College, Knowsley College, Merseytravel, Jackson Canter Solicitors and many more.

Homotopia itself will work with Merseyside Probation Trust, artist Paul Harfleet and The Pansy Project in a unique and innovative intervention.

Artists, community representatives, offenders and Merseyside Probation Trust will plant pansies to raising awareness of discrimination around Liverpool as part of the Community Payback Project & Merseyside Probation Trust’s ‘Promoting Human Dignity’ programme.

Gary Everett Artistic Director of Homotopia said: “‘IDAHO 50’ is very much a part of Liverpool’s DNA, and its commitment to social justice and equality. The day will raise awareness of our year long social justice programme helping to create a more cohesive and healthier city. Since 2005 our inter-generational and youth engagement programme has reached over 80,000 people and is growing.”

Anne Pakula, Head of Operations at Merseyside Probation Trust said: “Merseyside Probation Trust supports Homotopia in its work to eliminate discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our innovative work with the perpetrators of hate crime leads to a change in attitudes, thinking and behaviour towards minority groups, which in turn results in safer communities for the people of Merseyside.

“The Trust is committed to reducing re-offending and improving public protection, and tackling hate crime in this form is just one way of achieving this.

“We fully support the aims of IDAHO 50, and value our continued partnership with Homotopia in this important area of work.”

Sarah Poblete CEO Liverpool Law Society said: “Liverpool Law Society supports any organisation which is against discrimination and prejudice to minority groups. The Society wishes to see a community free of bullying. The inaugural launch of IDAHO 50 Liverpool is yet another landmark event demonstrating that the Liverpool community cares. Liverpool Law Society is delighted to endorse this event.”