Firefighters in Yorkshire have issued a defiant message to homophobes who abused the force for posting a picture of a rainbow flag.
To mark LGBT history month last year, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue updated their profile picture on Facebook with the force’s logo on a rainbow background.
But the image was quickly met with a tirade of abuse from social media users, with one writing: ‘I can only hope somebody’s hacked your Facebook account and put this on.’
This year, the force has posted a video calling out the abuse, while updating its profile picture again with the flag and their cover photo showing an image of scattered scrabble letters reading ‘equal’.
‘We don’t think homophobic abuse is acceptable and we stand with all those LGBT+ people we serve and employ.
As one worker hands out leaflets in the street she says: ‘Getting involved in the gay community – it’s not correct!’
Another spoke to the camera, with a screen in the background showing a giant aubergine emoji, and says: ‘Constantly going on about who wants to shag who shouldn’t be a fire service priority.’
‘It’s just bulls***!’ said another wearing a rainbow hat, while sat at a computer which read: ‘Very important document!’
The video reminds viewers that ‘LGBT+ people still face prejudice at home and at work’, and fire fighters insisted ‘we celebrate LGBT+ pride in solidarity with all those we serve and employ’.
In a final comical clip a man speaks in a deadpan voice to the camera saying: ‘I don’t see or understand why you feel the need to celebrate.’
He then blows a party horn with a straight face as two rainbow flags are waved in the background, before he is covered in confetti.
The real question is, who is this?? 😍😘 pic.twitter.com/9ZrFvURpS8
— Philp (@philp83) February 5, 2020
Absolutely brilliant video and message. Some people are so shallow. Great to see as an employer you are supporting all those who work for you regardless of Sexual Orientation. 🌈👬👭👫🌈
— Paul Borer 🏳️🌈🇬🇧 (@pbmcmlxxi) February 5, 2020
I still love this from @AvonFireRescue every time I see it pic.twitter.com/wVZMNKlQlJ
— Shambolic Adult 🏳️🌈🏃 (@ShambolicAdult) February 5, 2020
The video then ends on a poignant reminder, saying: ‘Fires don’t discriminate and neither do we’.
The clip has received great praise across social media with thousands of likes and shares.
One wrote: ‘Why on earth would you get abuse? If my house was on fire and a firefighter came to the window, not sure I’d enquired if they were gay or not. Bonkers.’
Another said: ‘This is a brilliant video!!!! As an openly gay firefighter! I can not stress how great this video is’.
‘Well done for calling out direct LGBT+ abuse. Indifference can as damaging as ignorance – you demonstrate this really well,’ wrote another.