Sunday 17 May 2020 is International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (also known as IDAHOTB or IDAHOBIT). Here, IP Out committee member Conor Wilman explains the history of the Day, its aims and its continuing importance to LGBTQ+ communities.
Sunday 17 May 2020 is International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and, despite the lockdown, there are numerous events around the world marking the date.
Launched in 2004, 17 May was chosen as the date to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision to declassify homosexuality. Starting out as the International Day Against Homophobia, transphobia was added to the campaign in 2009 and biphobia was added in 2015.
While the Day is a celebration of progress for all sexual and gender diversities, it, like the History Month, also serves as a time of education and history; a time for LGBTQ+ communities everywhere to discover their history and teach it to a new generation.
The Day also acts as a way to combine the efforts of various national lobbying groups to amplify their voices and drive support for legislative change. Though general attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community are improving in the global West, there are still over 70 countries that criminalise same-sex conduct and only around 27% of UN member states have broad protections in law for sexual minorities. The statistics are far worse for transgender people.
In bringing attention to the discrimination against and oppression of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, the Day is an opportunity for campaign groups to increase the visibility of repressive actions and laws and to engage in constructive dialogues with the media and policy makers.
At the moment, it is obviously difficult to get together with our friends and local communities to celebrate 17 May. So this year, perhaps we can look closer to home and consider how we can support our local LGBTQ+ communities and companies, particularly those suffering under lockdown.
Stay home and stay safe!
IP Out Committee