Why Is May 17 International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia?

Thursday, May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and this year Care2 is bringing you personal stories from around the world on the fight to eliminate anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination. For our complete coverage, please click here.

The Background to IDAHOT
The International Day Against Homophobia, taking inspiration from fledgling national events, was created in August 2004 by Lois-Georges Tin, a French university lecturer and equal rights campaigner.

The event was designed to create a global day of action against homophobia and to raise awareness for the cause of LGBT rights.

May 17 was chosen for this day in order to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

According to the IDAHO website, the first small IDAHO events were organized in places like China and Bulgaria.


Who Supports International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia?

Following a year-long campaign, IDAHO supporters were able by May 17, 2005, to have recruited international organizations like the ILGA and the IGLHRC to join the IDAHO appeal, and thus IDAHO became an internationally recognized global event.

Since that time world leaders have also adopted the event, from prominent voices in the EU to the head of the United Nations. Notably, Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament, made a statement supporting IDAHO in 2006.

IDAHO is supported by several Nobel Prize winners, including Desmond Tutu and Dario Fo; notable intellectuals including Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler; and many high profiled entertainers including Meryl Streep, Cyndi Lauper and David Bowei.


IDAHO and Trans Rights

In 2009 the IDAHO campaign focused on transphobia and the violence and discrimination trans people face. From that time on trans rights were explicitly mentioned and the day became known as “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia” (IDAHOT).

From this a new drive was created, and one that is supported by more than 300 NGOs from 75 countries, to remove transgender status from the World Health Organization’s official list of mental disorders.

On the eve of the 2009 IDAHO day, French ministers revealed that by April of 2010 they would officially remove transexualism from the country’s diagnostic list of mental illnesses. This made France the first country to take such a step.


IDAHOT: Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

In essence, IDAHOT is a chance to magnify LGBT voices from around the globe and to come together to speak as one to call for an end to discrimination, violence and prejudice. And the need to do this remains urgent.

In 86 countries homosexual consensual acts are illegal, while in 7 of those countries LGBTs may face the death penalty because of their sexuality or gender identity.

This is IDAHOT:


Image taken from video, no infringement intended.

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Hannah Short
Hannah Short3 years ago

Sandy: no one is saying you have to like them, but you can't say you have the right not to be gay, it really isn't an option, you cant control how you feel about someone, and just because you dont like someone doesn't mean you can take their rights away. You agree?

Sharlene K.
Sharlene R.3 years ago

I'm not LGBT, but I fully support LGBT rights & equality. Here's to IDAHOT day, y'all.

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson3 years ago

I have the right NOT to be gay and to NOT like gays!

Angie Zietsman
Angie Zietsman3 years ago

Really people really just leave them alone they are not hurting anybody! Not forcing anybody to do as they do all they want is to be happy so leave them alone and let them be happy. There are far greating issues in the world than peoples sexuallity!!!

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke3 years ago

I'm going to borrow that tag and facebook it. I'm all in favor of Anti Homophobia - let the Christianistas know how you stand on the issue!

Ra Sc
Ra Sc3 years ago

It's good to take a day to remember how far we've come and how far we still have to go. I hope that someday equal rights and acceptance will just be a given, rather than something we actually need to work toward. Then we can just take a day to celebrate.

Brenda Y.
Brenda Y.3 years ago

It took me so long to come out. I'm learning about days such as this day. I'm proud to be me. Lesbian is just part of who I am. The people who matter still love me, but I want to live in a world where people who don't even know me don't hate me for who I love.

Cynthia Ray P.
Cynthia Ray P.3 years ago

I just wanted to add that is is a shame we have to have a day named after this, as we should all be treated as equal,and not have to argue over something natural. People need to treat others with respect and dignaty, nothing more or special.

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch3 years ago

By every day, every action, we are slowly getting the message across.

Discrimination of ALL PEOPLE, is discrimination. No matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or any other thing that makes you different, we all deserve the right to live a peaceful life free of harrassment.

Stefanie Roszkowski

I support everyone within the QUILTBAG community. (I use that acronym because it's a little more inclusive than LGBT.)

Q = Queer/Questioning
U = Undecided
I = Intersex
L = Lesbian
T = Trans
B = Bisexual
A = Ally/Asexual
G = Gay/Genderqueer