From the July-August 2015 issue of News & Letters
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) is observed around the world each year on May 17 to raise awareness of human rights violations against LGBTI people and to advocate for our full human rights.
Louis-Georges Tin founded IDAHOT in 2005 after a year-long campaign by the IDAHOT Committee for official recognition. The committee, which included the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the Coalition of African Lesbians and the International Lesbian and Gay Association, chose May 17 because on that day in 1990, the World Health Organization decided to remove homosexuality as a disease from its International Classification of Diseases. Among the countries who observed IDAHOT that first year were Bulgaria, China and Congo, whose events were their first ever for Queer rights.
Transphobia was added to the name of the day in 2009. That year, IDAHOT events were mostly focused on transphobia and the struggle for Transgender rights. In that year, France removed Transgender issues from its list of mental illnesses. Biphobia was added to the day’s name in 2014.
IDAHOT observances in 2015 included Namibia’s AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa demanding that all Southern African governments respect and protect LGBTI people’s right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, so that, among other things, HIV/AIDS may be effectively dealt with.
Almost every European Union institution affirmed that they will continue to legislate for full human rights for Queer people and refuse any discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Thousands turned out in Seoul, South Korea, for IDAHOT festivities, which included a stage show. A joint statement by Queer rights advocates stated they would “fight to create a society where LGBTI people can enjoy dignity and human rights” with a vision of “a plaza of diversity.”
Turkey also saw its largest turnout for IDAHOT, in its capital Ankara. A march “for freedom and love” closed Turkey’s LGBTI rights group Kaos GL Association’s 10th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting, with thousands of attendees.
Those who are determined to win full human rights for LGBTI people show a path to creating a truly human world.