On the right side of history, the city raises the colours of the 'right to be'

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On the 'right side of history', the city gathered in front of the City Hall on the morning of 17 May to raise the colours of the 'right to be'. With the rainbow flag in the sky and, for the first time, illuminating the façade of the building, the liberal-souled Porto marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and reaffirms its commitment to human dignity.

The basis for this symbolic act is, in the words of the Councillor for Social Cohesion, very simple: 'All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights and, regardless of sexual orientation, of one's choices, each person is one in the true sense of the word'.

'With these initiatives, we want to draw attention to the certainty that we must do everything we can to make the city more open, more tolerant, more supportive and, above all, fairer. Treat everyone equally, so that everyone feels good and can be happy in the city they have chosen to live, work and study in', Fernando Paulo emphasises.

The event was also joined by the Councillor for the Economy, Ricardo Valente, the President of the Municipal Assembly, Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo, MPs from the PS, CDU and Bloco de Esquerda parties, as well as various institutions from the city's social network.

It's a matter of affirming that Porto, as its liberal soul says, is free and plural.'

Organiser of Porto Pride, Diogo Vieira da Silva believes that 'the city and the City Council taking a stand for the LGBTQIA+ population is a matter of Human Rights, it's a matter of affirming that Porto, as its liberal soul says, is free and plural'.

And he recalled how these initiatives 'are fundamental, especially for many young LGBT people who still feel isolated, who feel discriminated against, showing that there is a whole society and a whole municipality willing to help them'.

Witnessing the lighting up of the City Hall the night before, the Vice-President of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) couldn't hide his 'enormous pride that it happened' in the city where he works.

'What we're saying here, with this symbolism in one of the most important City Councils in the country, is that we all have the right to be, regardless of our choices. And that's what counts', Manuel Albano says.

The Vice-President of the CIG emphasised that, 'in due time, the Porto City Council is joining this cause, aligning itself with this commitment to support the right to be', giving visibility 'to someone who has every right to it'.

It's a cultural, educational endeavour. We must teach, educate for Human Rights.'

Beyond symbolic initiatives, the two representatives argue that much remains to be done. 'We still need to implement public policy', Diogo Vieira da Silva says. 'And there's a lot of work to be done in coordination, not just between the municipality and the associations, but with all the players in the city: universities, hospitals, charities, etc.'

And education is lacking, Manuel Albano adds. 'It's about the respect that each of us must have for the other, regardless of their choices. This is work that has to be done on a daily basis. It's a cultural, educational endeavour. We must teach, educate for human rights', the Vice-President of CIG says.

In the words of Manuel Albano, 'it doesn't matter what we are, it matters what we do and which side we're on'. 'I want to be, and I want to believe that we all are, and Porto City Council certainly is, on the side of Human Rights, on the right side of history', he concluded.

This year's Pride Parade and Festivities, which take place on 29 June, will be held at Largo Amor de Perdição, but there will also be celebrations at Parque da Pasteleira.

In November, the city will host the annual meeting of European Pride organisers, which, for the coordinator of Porto Pride, 'is a public affirmation that they are welcome and that Porto will, for the first time, define the strategy of LGBT promotion and progress for Europe'.