U. K. Police Fly Gay Flag
Police in the U.K. have displayed their solidarity with the GLBT community by flying rainbow flags on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The day commemorates the anniversary of the World Health Organization having de-listed homosexuality as a mental illness nineteen years ago.
Though the www.psych.org/ had removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, it took the international community until 1990 to follow suit.
The gesture was meant as a reassurance from law enforcement to people who have been targeted for assault and persecution based on their individual characteristics, but it was viewed by some as promoting a "liberal" agenda.
A May 20 article in the U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail noted that the Metropolitan Police’s commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, had ordered rainbow flags lowered earlier in the year, when police in East London sought to show their support for LGBT History Month.
But police in other regions were free to hoist flags for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is celebrated each May 17. In Liverpool, police even decorated their headquarters building with rainbow colored lights, the article noted.
Many police stations were obliged to fly the rainbow flag in place of the Union Jack, the flag of the U.K.; this occasioned some angst among anti-gay elements.
An article posted at the blog Moonbattery fretted that the flying of the rainbow flags was "symbolic of Britain’s decline into liberal degeneracy," and declared, "In Islamic countries, where prejudice against homosexuals actually exists, you probably won’t see them strutting around like roosters, demanding attention and deliberately antagonizing anyone suspected of not supporting their nauseating agenda."
Added the Moonbattery item, "They are so far from being victims of prejudice in the West that police departments pull down the Union Jack to fly their flag instead."
A conservative lawmaker, David Davies, criticized the rainbow flags from a more polished perspective, saying, "Showing support for particular campaigns is a very dangerous route for the police.
"The job of the police is to enforce the law even-handedly and without prejudice, and we ought to be able to take that for granted."
Davies voiced the thought that neutrality would have been preferable, saying, "If they refused to fly this flag it wouldn’t mean they supported homophobia," and calling the flying of rainbow flags at police stations "just political correctness."
Warned Davies, "It’s much better for them to say we just fly the Union Flag, otherwise all sorts of groups will want them to fly their flags too."
Greater Manchester’s chief constable, Peter Fahy, seemed to welcome the thought, saying that other groups would be welcome to make such requests.
Said Fahy, "We are determined to show our support for anyone who feels they have been targeted because of their individuality."
A May 20 article at Southport Visiter.co.uk noted that the flags were flown as "part of [a] commitment to tackling hate crime" and "to send out a message that homophobia will not be tolerated."
Gay and Lesbian Support Network chair Tracy O’Hara, commenting on the flag’s appearance over police headquarters in Liverpool, was quoted as saying, "The Rainbow flag signifies freedom and fairness, and underlines the commitment of Merseyside Police to be inclusive and diverse and to provide a valuable service to all of the communities we serve."