The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today flown the rainbow flag of gay pride from London’s City Hall to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and has pledged to make the city a better place for minorities.
Khan has made much of his credentials as a gay-friendly Muslim candidate, telling Pink News in the past that he received death threats for voting in favour of gay marriage. He also pledged to take a tough stance on homophobic hate crimes during the Mayoral election.
The flag may therefore be another way of countering accusations of links to Islamic extremism, which dogged him during the race to succeed Boris Johnson at City Hall.
“I could not be more proud to help celebrate IDAHOT 2016 by flying the Pride flag here at City Hall,” he said in a statement.
“I was elected on a pledge to be Mayor for all Londoners and I will work with the LGBT+ community – as I will with all communities – to do everything I can to make London a more tolerant, fairer place to live.
“This is personal to me because I have been on the receiving end of hate crime, which has no place in our city, and I know how devastating it can be.”
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) May 17, 2016
This is not the first time that he has spoken of his personal experiences as a victim of hate crimes. Earlier this year, he again invoked his experiences while claiming that only minorities could become victims of hate crimes.
“I’ve been the victim of hate crime – anybody who is a minority is potentially the victim of hate crime,” he said.
“Whether you’re an ethnic minority, you’re lesbian gay, trans, religious minority, a woman, disabled, to me it’s personal because I have been on the receiving end.”