BRADFORD'S biggest LGBT History Month to date officially began today with the raising of the Gay Pride and Trans Pride flags in Centenary Square.

More than 100 events are being held across the district throughout February as people reflect on the lives and achievements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

People gathered in Centenary Square as the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid, gave a speech, saying the LGBT History Month was about celebrating “both solidarity and difference”.

He said: “We are delighted to raise the LGBT flag as part of the history month.”

Cllr Reid reflected on equal rights campaigns in his living memory, saying: “When I was a student, I took part in the campaign which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality.”

Councillor Val Slater, deputy leader of Bradford Council, spoke about Turing’s Law, which yesterday saw around 50,000 gay and bisexual men posthumously pardoned for crimes that no longer exist - named in honour of World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing.

She said: “It is important people realise how far we have come, when we think about Turing’s Law. I’m sure everyone here knows about Alan Turing but he saved us in the war by breaking the Enigma machine but he was prosecuted for being a gay man.”

Cllr Slater said there was a wide range of events planned in Bradford for LGBT History Month, including some about football and other sports.

She said: “It is really sad that there are many sportsmen and women that are afraid to come out because they are afraid how it will be received, not perhaps on the pitch but certainly by supporters and maybe in the dressing room.”

The Lord Mayor's Chaplain, the Rev Sarah Jemison, said: "There is a hymn whose chorus keeps going round and round in my mind and the chorus is 'All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place'.

"It's a mantra we need to have in our churches but it is also a mantra for our city, for our communities and for the world."

The flags were hoisted to applause, and will fly in Centenary Square for the rest of this month.

The events taking place in Bradford include films, sports, discussions and workshops to recognise the contribution of LGBT people to the community.

It is the biggest LGBT History Month in Bradford to date, according to Ann Kendal of the Equity Partnership, an LGBT support network which has helped to organise the events.

She said: “We try to reach across our community so that there are events that involve people from every ethnicity, every age, every identity.”