Rainbow and trans flags fly in Portsmouth's Guildhall Square for Pride month
'A SIMPLE but powerful gesture' - members of Portsmouth's LGBTQ+ community were proud to see the transgender flag fly in Guildhall Square for the first time ever.
In line with Pride month Portsmouth City Council is displaying the transgender and rainbow flags on poles outside the civic offices.
The blue, pink and white emblem was provided, on loan, by Brighton and Hove City Council, although there are plans for Portsmouth to buy one.
Councillor for Charles Dickens ward, Claire Udy, requested that the flag was displayed. 'The rainbow flag was always going to go up as it has done before,' she said.
'But I felt it was so important for us fly the trans flag. As a queer woman I have been a supporter of trans rights for a long time. At the moment trans people around the world are facing bullying and violence.'
The move was praised by transgender artist Samo White from Southsea. The 32-year-old said: ''It is especially important in the current climate we are in where trans people in some parts of the world are subject to physical and mental abuse.
'Flying the flag may seem like something so simple but it means so much. It's also for residents to see as they might not know what the flag looks like.'
Samo will miss Portsmouth's main Pride event on June 22 as he was invited to help paint a mural in New York City as part of Pride celebrations in America. 'It's such a huge honour,' he said.
The main Pride event includes a parade along Southsea seafront and live acts on Castle Field.
For one of the organisers, Matt Hill, the additional flag was a boost for equality. He said: 'Trans people are facing a really difficult time at the moment and I hope they see the flag and know that they have the support of the city.'
He added: 'This will be our biggest Pride celebration in Portsmouth yet, we're expecting around 5,000 people. It's a free event and it's for everyone - our straight allies and families included.'
A candlelit vigil for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots will be held on Wednesday, June 19 in Guildhall Square
The flags will fly until the end of June.