New Mayor of London Sadiq Khan flies rainbow flag from City Hall
The new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is flying the rainbow flag from City Hall today to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
The annual event is observed on May 17 across the world, aiming to raise awareness of the discrimination that still faces LGBT people at home and around the world.
Labour politician Mr Khan, who became the Mayor of London earlier this month, is one of the country’s most prominent pro-LGBT Muslim politicians.
He has been candid about receiving death threats from some hardline Islamist preachers after voting in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013, and is a strong voice for tolerance.
To mark IDAHOT, the politician today ordered the Pride flag be flown from City Hall today, alongside the Union Flag.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told PinkNews in a statement: “I could not be more proud to help celebrate IDAHOT 2016 by flying the Pride flag here at City Hall.
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“I was elected on a pledge to be Mayor for all Londoners and I will work with the LGBT+ community – as I will with all communities – to do everything I can to make London a more tolerant, fairer place to live.
“This is personal to me because I have been on the receiving end of hate crime, which has no place in our city, and I know how devastating it can be.”
Speaking to PinkNews earlier this year, Mr Khan pledged to take a tough stance on homophobic hate crimes as Mayor.
He said: “I’ve been the victim of hate crime – anybody who is a minority is potentially the victim of hate crime.
“Whether you’re an ethnic minority, you’re lesbian gay, trans, religious minority, a woman, disabled, to me it’s personal because I have been on the receiving end.”
He added: “It’s a badge of shame – that in spite of the progress that we have made over the last 20, 30 years if you’re a Londoner who happens to be LGBT, you make yourself vulnerable to hate crime.
“It’s heartbreaking that as the father of two children, that almost half of LGBT young people have self harmed or tried to kill themselves, just think about that for a second.”
Mr Khan also said he would restore the Mayor’s role attending Pride in London – which Boris Johnson has missed every year since 2010.