Firefighters highlighted the abusive and homophobic comments they received after they showed their support for LGBT+ History Month.
February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK and, in celebration of that, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Services changed their logo on social media last year to include a rainbow.
The response was varied, with many commenters not happy with this display of solidarity. This year, the South Yorkshire team made a video poking fun at some of the ridiculous things that were said. Firefighters read out a selection of last year’s anti-LGBT+ comments.
“We don’t think homophobic abuse is acceptable and we stand with all those LGBT+ people we serve and employ,” they said on Twitter.
The video is filled to the brim with rainbows, making it clear that these firefighters don’t tolerate fires or homophobia.
“Constantly going on about who wants to shag who shouldn’t be a fire service priority,” one commenter said. “It should be about keeping the public safe, not acting as a political group,” another said.
The video currently has over 350,000 views on Twitter. Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson said he expected the video to get mixed reactions, but it was important to say something against the “awful and totally unacceptable” comments they received last year.
Last year we got a load of abuse when we added the rainbow flag to our profile picture.
We don't think homophobic abuse is acceptable and we stand with all those LGBT+ people we serve and employ 🏳️🌈
— South Yorkshire Fire (@SYFR) February 5, 2020
“We’ve produced it for two reasons – firstly we wanted to support the month and let our staff, and communities, know that we are proud to employ and serve them, regardless of those comments,” he said.
“And secondly we wanted to demonstrate that we are a genuinely inclusive organisation that values the contribution of all our staff, whatever their LGBT+ status.”
Since releasing the video, the service has posted on Twitter that they’ve been “awash with positivity”. “We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the response to this video,” they said.
Their video ends on a powerful message: “fires don’t discriminate, neither do we.”
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
For 30 years GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community. We want to go on providing this community hub in print and online, helping countless individuals across the country, but the revenue from advertising across the media is falling.
GCN needs your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from only €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.