IDAHOBIT in Nottingham

Thanks to a remarkable police officer called Richard Townsley there have been a lot of activities for IDAHoBiT in Nottinghamshire this year. He was the main driving force and organiser of the events that took place, and did a great job in bringing everyone together from LGBTQ groups from across the county. He also got the local councils, emergency services, universities, unions etc. on board as well. I was really happy at his efforts to make sure the B and T were included and well represented. Things like flyers and Facebook groups were relabelled from IDAHO to IDAHoBiT once the issue was raised, and there were more B&T speakers than L&G ones at the main event on 17th May.

IDAHoBiT week started off on 11th May with the raising of the rainbow flag at Notts County Hall. The ceremony was well attended, with about 50 representatives of the aforementioned groups and organisations showing up despite it being a Monday morning! There were many events that took place during the week, but things were brought to a close with a “streaming event” in Nottingham city centre on Sunday 17th.

The idea was to have four groups of people ‘stream in’ towards the statue of Brian Clough in the centre of the city from four different directions. Unfortunately, none of the groups managed to arrive at the same time, but seeing so many people decked out in rainbow colours waving flags was a wonderful sight.  The group I helped lead arrived first, and as everyone was singing, cheering and blowing whistles we could hear the other groups coming towards us long before we could see them which added to the excitement of the afternoon.

By 1pm a large crowd had gathered at the statue and the speeches began. Everyone spoke very eloquently and passionately about issues that affect us here in the UK and the issues that LGBTQ people face abroad. Jennifer gave a cracking speech about bi erasure and bi inclusion, (which was ironically hampered in the beginning when the mic kept cutting out!) and the Deputy Chief Constable spoke of a new anti-hate crime campaign that has just been launched and reiterated that the police will not tolerate any hate crime. Bemused members of the general public were very friendly to everyone who took part. Many people took pictures and stopped to listen to the speeches so were definitely winning at visibility and raising awareness.

Richard Townsley is so organised and determined to continue his work that barely a week had gone by before we were all messaged with an invitation to a meeting to plan events for IDAHoBiT 2016! However he also contacted me to ask when Bi Visibility Day is, and mentioned that he wanted to plan events for that too. (As well as Trans awareness week.) This is a wonderful opportunity to have county wide events for 23rd September and I’m really hopeful and excited to see what we can make happen.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Richard and everyone else who helped organise, set up and run events in IDAHoBiT week. Thank you to everyone who took part too.

Hannah