The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on May 17th and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. Commemorations have taken place in over 120 countries, in all world regions.
Despite some legal and social advances in the past two decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) people continue to face widespread discrimination and violence in many countries. This leads to exclusion and adversely affects both the lives of LGBTQI people as well as on the communities and economies in which they live.
The founders of the International Day against Homophobia, as it was originally known, established the IDAHO Committee to coordinate grass-roots actions in different countries, to promote the day and to lobby for official recognition on May 17.
That date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.
Each year has a new theme; this year’s theme is “Alliances for Solidarity.”
Putting the focus of the Day on Solidarity and Alliances can create a valuable opportunity for us to reach out to our current partners to reinforce our bond, to reach out to new partners to raise awareness of our commonalities, and to engage in collective action.
This focus is a reminder of the need for solidarity within the communities of sexual and gender minorities, as the rights of one specific group cannot be solidly secured if the rights of other groups are left unchallenged.
The focus on alliances should also highlight the necessity for sexual and gender minorities to be allies to other vulnerable groups (e.g. migrants, people living in poverty, vulnerable children, etc.).
Written by Debbie Roe