Rainbow flag flying from Cork city hall to mark LGBTI+ awareness week

In tandem with San Francisco, Cork was the first city in Ireland to officially fly the rainbow flag back in 2014 and is the only Irish city in the International Rainbow Cities Network.

The rainbow flag is flying from Cork city hall to mark its LGBTI+ awareness week

The progressive pride flag was raised at City Hall on Sunday evening in a joint ceremony with sister city San Francisco to mark the start of LGBTI+ awareness week in Cork.

Since 2011, Cork City Council has organised Cork LGBTI+ Awareness Week to coincide with international IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia). The purpose of the week is to bring Cork City: its Council, public service agencies and communities together.

“When we agreed to become part of the Rainbow Cities Network: Share the Rainbow initiative there isn’t any other city that Cork would rather share a rainbow with,” said Siobhán O’Dowd, who chairs the city’s LGBT Inter-Agency Group. “There’s a lovely symbolism in that the gift of a Rainbow Flag from Mayor Lee in 2013, raised in 2014 helped us create a little bit of history here in Ireland so we are returning that lovely gesture.” 

Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, said he wants the city to be inclusive of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

“I’m especially pleased that our friends in our sister city San Francisco are gathered right now at City Hall to also raise this flag – together we are ushering in IDAHOBIT Day (the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) and committing ourselves to challenge prejudice and discrimination around sexual orientation, gender identity and all forms of intolerance and hatred,” he said.

“The past pandemic year has divided us from one another as in every community, city and country we’ve had to cocoon, social distance and work and live at home.

“It is heartening that right across the world we can join together, in a safe fashion, to raise our voices and our flags to promote inclusion.”

Cork officials had sent a specially made pride flag to their San Franciscan counterparts to mark the event.

San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives Executive Director Clair Farley, a trans woman who is also a mayoral adviser, told the Bay Area Reporter that the city is “delighted to receive such a wonderful gift from Cork City.” The flag will fly for 24 hours off the mayor’s balcony at City Hall. The building was also lit in the colours of the rainbow flag that evening.

“It symbolizes our desire to continue to work together on issues of LGBTQ inclusion and equality, both as sister cities and hopefully in the future as members of the Rainbow Cities Network,” said Farley.

Details on all the events taking place during the city’s LGBTQI+ Awareness Week can be found on Facebook @CorkCityLGBTInter-AgencyGroup and on Twitter via @CorkLGBTWeek.

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