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:
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