Flying the Flag

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) are encouraging organisations, individuals and groups to visibly mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by ‘Flying the Flag’ on 17 May – what will you be doing?

What is IDAHO?

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is marked every May 17th around the world to call for respect for lesbians, gay, bisexual and trans people worldwide; it marks the date that homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organisation on May 17th 1992.

What are we doing in 2013?

What is ‘Flying the Flag’?

‘Flying the Flag’ is an initiative that provides an opportunity to visibly mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on 17 May by flying a Rainbow Flag or marking the day by taking positive action to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals and communities.

It not only raises awareness of the impact that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia continues to have on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGB&T) people and communities, but shows recognition of the positive contribution of LGB&T people locally.

DOWNLOAD the Flying the Flag 2013 leaflet >>>

Does it have to be a flag?

The LGF are asking those individuals and organisations that enabled over 250 flags to fly across Greater Manchester on May 17th to show their support by taking part again this year!

Whether it’s a rainbow flag flying from a town hall, a library publicly displaying positive information resources for local people or a school taking part and delivering sessions aimed at tackling homophobic bullying – it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing something positive and visible; and we and other LGB&T voluntary and community sector groups can support you in doing that!

Creativity is at the core of what we encourage individuals and organisations to consider when marking IDAHO. If you don’t have a flag pole, why not add an image of the rainbow flag to your email footer, or print off a poster and put it up in your reception area – it is about visibly marking and supporting the day.

Use the images below on your twitter, email and facebook! Just click them to download!

twitter flag facebook flag email footer flag

What does the rainbow flag mean?

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals, their friends, families and employers often use rainbow flags or rainbow images as an outward symbol of their identity or to show solidarity and

The rainbow flag is said to originate from the late 1970’s when Gilbert Baker flew a hand-dyed flag in the San Francisco Freedom Day Parade.

There are many theories around the original inspiration for the flag and the meaning of the colours used in the rainbow flag; however the flag remains the internationally recognised symbol for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. It also identifies places of refuge, safety and  recognition for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community.

Tell Us What You’re Doing!


It’s important that you let us know what you’re doing to mark IDAHO, so please let us know, send us a picture of your flag flying or other creative ways of marking the day and we will promote it in our online gallery and website.

For people who entered the Gaydio flag waving competition, we'll be letting you know if you were successful this week and popping it in the post at the same time.

Remember to send pictures of your flag being flown so that we may share it with everyone! Tweet it @lgfoundation, email it to or you can pop it on our Facebook -

Feedback from flag flyers

“When I heard about the International Day Against Homophobia through The Lesbian & Gay Foundation at I thought this would be a great learning opportunity! I ordered a rainbow flag and spoke to the class about the purpose of the upcoming day.

The students were intrigued to learn that there was a gay flag! We did a lesson on flags of the world and then looked at flags for other purposes such as the Olympic flag. The class then had a chance to design their own flag to represent themselves.

When the rainbow flag arrived everyone agreed it represented the gay community really well! On the day we looked online at photos of other people flying the flag in Greater Manchester and saw that the flag was flying at places like council offices and police stations.

We learned that only 1 school flew the flag in 2010 and were proud to add our school to the list of organisations that are schools against homophobia!” - Flag Flyer

“We had several service users comment on it and said it reassured them that the clinics were non judgemental, welcoming and supportive of them as individuals. The bright colours also attracted the attention of other service users not already aware of the campaign which gave the opportunity to promote awareness.” - GUM Clinic