International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
Today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) which commemorates the 26th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
HISTORY OF IDAHOT
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on May 17 and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. In the 9th edition, in 2013, commemorations took place in almost 120 countries, in all world regions.
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.
The day was conceived in 2004. A year-long campaign culminated in the first International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, 2005. 24,000 individuals as well as organizations such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians signed an appeal to support the "IDAHO initiative". Activities for the day took place in many countries, including the first LGBT events ever to take place in the Congo, China, and Bulgaria.
In 2009, transphobia was added to the name of the campaign, and activities that year focused primarily on transphobia (violence and discrimination against transgender people). A new petition was launched in cooperation with LGBT organizations in 2009, and it was supported by more than 300 NGOs from 75 countries, as well as three Nobel Prize winners (Elfriede Jelinek, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, and Luc Montagnier). On the eve of May 17, 2009, France became the first country in the world to officially remove transgender issues from its list of mental illnesse
Frenchman Louis-Georges Tin was founder of the day, and acted as its Committee Chairperson until his resignation in September 2013. He was succeeded by internationally renowned Venezuelan trans rights activist, lawyer and law professor Tamara Adrián, who became one of the first trans legislators in Latin America in 2015.
Louis-Georges Tin and two other Committee members started a hunger-strike on June 2012 to urge the French president Hollande to introduce a UN resolution decriminalising homosexuality
In France, same-sex marriage has been legal since 18 May 2013; a decision announced on May 17.
Biphobia was added to the name of the campaign in 2015.
Goals and activities
The main purpose of the May 17 mobilisations is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society.
One of the stated goals of May 17 is to create an event that can be visible at a global level without needing to conform to a specific type of action. This decentralized approach is needed due to the diversity of social, religious, cultural, and political contexts in which rights violations occur.
May 17 around the world
The day is particularly strong in Europe and Latin America, where it is commemorated with public events in almost all countries. May 17 is also marked in multiple countries in all world regions including, in 2013, 32 of the 76 countries in the world where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Common actions include large-scale street marches, parades and festivals. In Cuba, for example, Mariela Castro has led out a huge street parade in honor of May 17 for the past 3 years. In Chile in 2013, 50,000 people took to the streets to mark May 17, and the VIII Santiago Equality march.
Arts and culture-based events are also common. For example, Bangladeshi activists organised the music festival "Love Music Hate Homophobia" in 2013. Albanian LGBT activists have, in 2012 and 2013 been organising an annual Bike (P) Ride for May 17 through the streets of the capital Tirana. In 2013, the day's Committee called for international actions for a Global Rainbow Flashmob to mark May 17. Activists in 100 cities, in 50 countries participated with diverse public events spanning coloured balloon releases, dance flashmobs, musical events, and performance and street art.