The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), May 17, included events in countries which keep 1.5 BILLION people under laws that criminalize same sex relationships. The day saw first-ever public events in many places, including Burma, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates — and Iran.
An album of photos of activists on public transport holding signs which say “No to homophobia and transphobia” in Persian, waving the rainbow flag from the mountains overlooking Tehran and releasing balloons in rainbow colors has been uploaded to JoopeA News, an “online comunity aim to free world and human rights.”
Many of the photos show activists with the flag or the signs covering their faces. You can click through to see more photos.
They also launched a “Homophilia” campaign on Facebook, which has an enormous take-up in Iran, despite the authorities’ best efforts.
Some even distributed brochures in Tehran.
With reports coming in from all over the world, the 2012 edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia seems like it will be breaking new records. Despite threats, IDAHO events were successfully held in St Petersberg, defying the ‘Don’t say Gay’ law, Serbia and Albania, where activists rode bikes down the main boulevard in Tirana, protected by police (video here).
In Asia, most countries are on the ‘IDAHO map’, with cancellation of activities in Malaysia due to threats being one of the sad moments of this year’s celebrations. In South Korea, the day was marked for the first time.
At the UN level, the heads of UNAIDS and UNDP marked the day and added their voices to the High Commissioner for Human Rights who recorded a video ahead of the day. The pan-American section of the World Health Organization issued a groundbreaking scientific position paper against the so-called ‘conversion therapies.’ UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon spoke out on May 17 to invite world leaders to “tackle violence against LGBT people, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, ban discrimination and educate the public.”
The Council for Global Equality commemorated the day with the release of an NGO guide – “Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders.”
The guide highlights the various diplomatic tools that U.S. embassies use to advance a range of human rights and development objectives, from diplomatic “démarches,” to support for LGBT refugees to the drafting of the annual human rights report that is required of every U.S. embassy. It also looks at various opportunities that exist for U.S. embassies to support, both technically and financially, LGBT advocates in host countries.
Click through for more photos of these brave Iranian activists >>
Sign says “No to homophobia and transphobia” in Persian.
This is at Tochal, the mountain above Tehran.
Rainbow balloons over Tehran.
On Tehran’s underground metro.
All photos courtesy of JoopeA