LGBT History Month has been recognised in the Vale by the flying of the rainbow flag outside the Civic Offices, in Holton Road, Barry.

Vale council Leader, Cllr John Thomas raised the flag to highlight the occasion and to celebrate the council’s progress in its work to support the LGBT community, in the workplace and in the community.

The council has jumped 122 places to 293 in latest Stonewall Workplace Equality Index after an action plan was put into place in 2017 to make the organisation more LGBT friendly.

In the past twelve months the council has provided LGBT awareness training to many of its staff, including those working in schools.

It has taken part in a Stonewall’s ‘LGBT Allies’ programme, inviting staff to establish and participate in internal LGBT networks; and used social media to share messages about LGBT events.

It has encouraged staff to participate in Stonewall’s independent staff feedback survey; and flown the rainbow flag for LGBT History Month and Pride Cymru 2017.

Cllr Thomas said: “It is fantastic to see that Stonewall Cymru has recognised the significant strides that the Council has taken over the past year. There is great work being done across the organisation and we want to continue to build on this.

“Of course, there is still some way to go to achieve our aims. We already have plans in place to review our internal policies and procedures to make sure that they are inclusive of all staff, to strengthen our internal LGBT Allies network and enhance the role it plays, and to raise awareness of and develop policies to support trans employees and people with non-binary identities.”

Director of Stonewall Cymru, Andrew White said: “I am constantly impressed with how employers across Wales are transforming the lives and opportunities of LGBT people, these results show that our small but proud nation is once again leading the way.

“We know that despite the advances of LGBT rights in recent years, people in Wales still experience discrimination, abuse and isolation at work, at home and in our communities. The work of LGBT-inclusive employers is vital in securing a more prosperous, healthier and more equal nation for future generations.

“Creating the best environment at work for all staff results in a happier, healthier workforce, better services, and increased productivity. Workplace equality isn’t just right, it’s good for business.”

The Vale council is also supporting a community event called Dimensions of Gender in Wales and Beyond.

It will be held at the Memorial Hall, Barry on Monday, March 6.

The event aims to promote an improved understanding of gender identity and sexuality. It will have a particular focus on the rights and experiences of transgender women and non-binary people.