Every year, May 17 marks International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, (IDAHOBIT). Celebrated all over the world, the theme of this year’s IDAHOBIT is “Together always: united in diversity”. Focusing on the need for cross-movement-solidarity, thousands of important initiatives are being highlighted today. From the Cook Islands to Lesotho, Jamaica, and Canada, events will take place in over 50 countries across the world.
Created in 2004, IDAHOBIT has the purpose of drawing attention to the violence and discrimination that members of the LGBTQ+ community face every day.
May 17 is the day on which the World Health Organization decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. This historic significance led to the decision to make it the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, with thousands of LGBTQ+ activists standing up to make it happen. The day is supposed to remind everyone that true equality continues to be very far from reach for many LGBTQIA+ people worldwide.
Data shows that, to this day, six UN member states impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. In as many as five other states it is presumably common practice, even though there are no legal records.
64 UN member states criminalise consensual same-sex acts and at least 51 countries restrict the freedom of expression when it comes to sexual and gender diversity issues, especially in educational settings.
But not all is bad, as the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia also serves as a reminder that to date 11 UN member states have moved to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices at the national level and 7 UN member states have restricted unnecessary and non-consensual interventions on intersex youth. 20 UN member states allow self-determination for legal gender recognition, and as many as 33 UN countries have established marriage equality.
Despite these positive steps forward, history has shown that hard-won progress can easily be reversed, and with this year’s theme, IDAHOBIT is supposed to remind the community of the power we have when we stand united across movements, identities, and borders.
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