17th May- International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. In almost 80 countries around the world, loving someone of the same sex is still considered illegal, at times involving lifetime imprisonment and, in nine countries, it is even punishable by death! And in many more countries still, citizens are denied their right to live according to their preferred gender identity.
As well as legal discriminations, social homophobia and transphobia serve to daily deny millions of people across the world their basic human dignity.
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to this issue.
It is not one centralised campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.
The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is now celebrated in more than 100 countries, in all world regions and in places as diverse as Australia, Iran, Cameroon or Albania.
It has received official recognition from several States and such international institutions as the European Parliament, and by countless local authorities. Most United Nations agencies also mark the Day with specific events.
LGBTI organizations, governments, cities, human rights organizations, corporations and celebrities have all taken action on May 17th to:
- Draw media attention to the issue of homophobia and transphobia
- Organise events which mobilize public opinion
- Demand attention from policymakers and engage in lobbying activities
- Network with like-minded organizations and develop new partnerships, at home or beyond
- Mobilize existing constituencies and address new audiences.
INITIATIVES BY THE LESBIAN AND GAY FOUNDATION IN MANCHESTER
The Manchester-based Lesbian & Gay Foundation has just launched a series of initiatives for IDAHO 2013, including the Flying the Flag project, a kiss-in flashmob, and a special May 17th vigil against homophobia, transphobia and bisphobia.
Flying the Flag is an initiative that provides an opportunity to visibly mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on 17 May by flying a Rainbow Flag or marking the day by taking positive action to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals and communities.
As LGF explain, “it could be a rainbow flag flying from a town hall, a library publicly displaying positive information resources for local people or a school taking part and delivering sessions aimed at tackling homophobic bullying – it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing something positive and visible; and we and other LGB&T voluntary and community sector groups can support you in doing that!”
Last year’s event saw over 250 organisations in the Greater Manchester Area fly their flag, but LGF also received images of flags flying from as far as the Middle-East !
LGF also announced yesterday a series of different events which will happen for IDAHO 2013 in the North-West of England:
* LGF will be teaming up with the community radio station, “GAYDIO” to offer 100 free rainbow flags to listeners, to be flown on May 17th.
* A vigil will be held in Manchester’s Sackville Gardens on Friday, May 17th from 7pm.
* A “Kiss-in Flashmob” will be held in Manchester City Centre on Saturday at 1pm (place to be decided).
* The Lesbian Avengers will also be holding a fun session – perhaps with the odd bit of fire eating – around the date !
For further info and resources, or to spread the word about your May 17th event, contact The Lesbian & Gay Foundation on 0845 3 30 30 30 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.