May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). It is celebrated around the world each year to bring attention to the discrimination and violence LGBTQ people still face, as well as to recognize advancements in LGBTQ equality.
At least 75 countries criminalize same-sex relationships and in up to 10 countries same-sex conduct may be punishable by death. Ahead of this year’s celebration, Indian television celebrities stand in solidarity against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and all forms of hate facing the LGBTQ community across the globe.
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOTB) was thought up in 2004 by Louis-Georges Tin of France and it was first celebrated the following year. May 17 was chosen as the date because it marked the anniversary of when the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. The day originally was the International Day Against Homophobia. In 2009, transphobia was added, to bring focus to issues involving gender expression, and to raise awareness about discrimination and violence against transgender people. Biphobia was added to the title in 2015, acknowledging issues faced by bisexual people.
The day works to coordinate events worldwide, but it is not a centralized campaign. Common events include street marches, parades, and festivals. The days’ goals are to get the attention of politicians, media, the public, and social movements, so they are aware of discrimination and violence experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI) worldwide. It is now the most important day for mobilization on a worldwide scale for LGBTI issues. Some countries and international institutions have recognized the day, and it is particularly popular in Europe and Latin America. In 2014, it was celebrated in 130 countries, including 37 countries where same-sex acts were illegal.
Every year the global community of sexual and gender minorities identifies one specific focus issue for the celebrations around May 17th. This year, the proposal is to focus attention on ALLIANCES for SOLIDARITY, because no battle can be won in isolation. We all need to keep strengthening alliances, especially when we need to ensure safety, fight violence, lobby for legal change, and/or campaign to change hearts and minds.
Putting the focus of the Day on Solidarity and Alliances can create a valuable opportunity for all of 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 around the Day.
This focus should also be a welcome 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.).
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, also known as International Day Against Homophobia and International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. It has been observed annually on May 17th since 2005.
To learn more, visit dayagainsthomophobia.org/