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ERG applauds Pride Month 2021 initiatives

 

Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, MP with Charles Trico (L), ERG Secretary and Felix Alvarez (R), OBE, Chair of the group.

‘Equality Rights Group (ERG) congratulates Equality Minister Samantha Sacramento on her various initiatives for marking Pride Month this June.

‘It was in March 2014 that ERG, with the backing of Minister Sacramento and the Government of Gibraltar, was able to hold the first Pride parade and community event . It was a challenging organisational undertaking which, without the support of both the Ministers for Equality and for Culture at the time, and the efforts of friend and supporter Donahue Cortes as organiser along with an impressive Planning Committee, ERG would have been unable to bring to successful fruition, as it did. The format was broader because ERG preferred a Gibraltar Pride concept to include members of the wide Gibraltar community so as to celebrate the unity of all our people. Indeed, the event was topped off with the performance of a well-known British disability champion and comedian held to great acclaim at the Sunborn Hotel.

‘ERG would advise continuing along similar inclusionary lines of community solidarity for our local Pride events, where no-one is diminished and everyone signified.

‘This year we are delighted to see Government delivering on a number of welcome details which we know have also impacted positively on not only the LGBT+ community, but their families, friends and allies, too; though, it is true to say, that we have also had many comments regarding the disappointment felt at the use of generic rainbow flags for the month when, in actual fact, Gibraltar’s official LGBT+ flag was procedurally endorsed by previous Governor Sir Adrian Johns and publicly launched thereafter by ERG on 29th May 2013. The official flag has subsequently been formally flown by government from both No. 6 and the frontier post. The local emblem is clearly a source of satisfaction and identity for the community and a point of appreciation were this point to be taken into consideration for future events. ERG is happy to donate a number of said flags for future institutional use and safekeeping by No. 6.

‘Additionally, plaudits are due to the Commissioner of Police, Richard Ullger, for instituting not only the marking of Pride within the Royal Gibraltar Police by raising a rainbow flag, but also for having appointed a specific Officer to be in charge of LGBT+ issues. The Gibraltar Defence Police and the wider Ministry of Defence Community are also to be noted in similar regard, and ERG thanks GDP Chief of Police, Rob Allen and British Forces Gibraltar in total for their support and commitment to diversity.

Gibraltar’s official LGBT+ flag designed through open contest run by ERG, endorsed by H E. Governor Sir Adrian Johns, and formally launched on 29 May 2013.

‘ERG is also thankful to the Gibraltar Electricity Authority and to Siemens for the provision of pelican light stencils that have been used to represent LGBT+ iconography across a number of crossings. It was a nice gesture. Similarly, the lighting up of Moorish Castle was, once more, a source of satisfaction to all.

‘In this scenario, only the adverse negativity felt when homophobic commentary was published in local Social Media sites came in the way. The swift response provided by the RGP’s immediate intervention calmed tensions and ensured that the respect towards minorities enshrined in Gibraltar legislation was felt as a reality. And ERG continues to encourage members of the public to report complaints and incidents of homophobia directly to ERG via our email address at equalityrightsgroup@yahoo.com. We depend on feedback to follow-up and do our job of serving the human and civil rights interests of our community.

‘We are also grateful to the Chief Minister for his clarification that the rainbow flags were hoisted for that day on 1st June at the start of Pride Month 2021, and will, once again, be raised on 28th June to commemorate the historic Stonewall Riots in New York on that date in 1969. ERG has been happy to accept an invitation to attend a formal Reception by the Mayor on that date to mark the significance of the start of the gay liberation movement.

‘All in all, a big thankyou from all members, families, friends and allies of ERG for the all-round initiatives this year. And, needless to say, Equality Rights Group is willing and able at any stage to support and cooperate with Government, our political parties, community organisations, and our security and other institutions in the promotion of initiatives towards equality and justice,’ the statement closed.