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Standing Together: Why International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia Matters



The right decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder was made by the World Health Organization on May 17, 1990. As such, it was established on May 17th, each year, in 2004, to commemorate this historic date as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The purpose of IDAHOT is to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by LGBTQIA+/LGBTQ2S+ people today.


Understanding the Terms: Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia


  • Homophobia: A prejudice or dislike of gay, lesbian, or homosexual people. Various forms of hostility and violence can occur, ranging from subtle biases to outright violence.

  • Transphobia: There are many forms of transphobia, including fear, hatred, and discrimination directed at transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals. Many of these issues are caused by misunderstandings about gender identity and gender expression.

  • Biphobia: The term biphobia refers to the prejudice or discrimination directed against bisexuals. In biphobia, people often believe that bisexuality is a "phase" or a lack of commitment, since bisexuals are attracted to more than one gender.


These terms are not mutually exclusive. A significant number of LGBTQ+ individuals experience a combination of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia throughout their lives.


Why is IDAHOBIT Important?


IDAHOBIT provides a crucial platform for:


  • Raise Awareness: This day raises awareness of the ongoing struggles facing the LGBTQ+ community around the world. To combat discrimination and prejudice, education and understanding are essential.

  • Advocate for Change: IDAHOBIT promotes advocacy efforts. By advocating for equal rights and protections, it empowers LGBTQ+ people and allies.

  • Celebrate Diversity: The purpose of this day is to celebrate the richness that LGBTQ+ identities bring to our society. By doing so, it promotes inclusivity and acceptance of all.


The Current Landscape: Challenges and Victories


In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has made significant progress towards equality. In many countries, same-sex marriage is now legal, and gender identity is becoming increasingly important. Despite this, there are still significant challenges to overcome:


  • Discrimination: Discrimination against LGBTI+ people is prevalent in many aspects of life, including housing, employment, healthcare, and education. As a result of discrimination, people can feel socially isolated, face financial hardship, and experience mental health issues.

  • Violence: Those who identify as LGBTI+ are more likely to be victims of violence, both physical and sexual. Violence against transgender people is disproportionately high.

  • Lack of Global Acceptance:  Although many countries have made progress toward LGBTQ+ rights, others still criminalize homosexuality and same-sex relationships. In 64 United Nations members, it is still illegal to be LGBTQ. Persecution, imprisonment, and even the death penalty are common in these countries for LGBTI+ individuals.

  • Mental Health Concerns: As a result of constant discrimination and violence, LGBTI+ people suffer from mental health problems. There is a higher rate of depression, anxiety, and suicide among LGBTI+ youth according to studies.


Despite these challenges, there have also been some positive developments:


  • Increased Visibility: In media and entertainment, LGBTQ+ characters are becoming more prominent, helping to foster empathy and understanding.

  • Legal Protections: A growing number of countries are enacting laws to protect LGBTQ+ rights, which leads to greater security and acceptance.

  • Growing Acceptance: There is a growing acceptance among younger generations of LGBTQ+ people, according to public opinion polls.


Celebrating Diversity and Advocating for Change


LGBTI+ communities celebrate IDAHOBIT by highlighting their rich diversity. On this day, we honor those who have fought for equality and stand in solidarity with those who still do. You can participate in IDAHOBIT in a number of ways:


  • Educate Yourself: Find out what LGBTI+ people are experiencing around the world. In addition to documentaries, books, and articles from reputable organizations, there are many resources available online and in libraries.

  • Spread Awareness: Let your friends, family, and colleagues know about IDAHOBIT and the importance of LGBTI+ rights. You can also use the hashtag #IDAHOBIT to share information and resources on social media.

  • Promote Inclusivity: Challenge gender and sexuality assumptions by using inclusive language.

  • Support LGBTI+ Organizations: Support LGBTI+ rights organizations by donating time or resources. Consider volunteering at local LGBTQ+ centers, supporting LGBTQ+ businesses, or attending fundraising events.

  • Speak Out Against Discrimination: Don't be silent about discrimination against LGBTI+ people. You can challenge prejudice by promoting inclusion in your school, workplace, and community.

  • Celebrate LGBTI+ Achievements: It is important to recognize the accomplishments of LGBTI+ individuals in a variety of fields. Let others know about successful LGBTQ+ people in your community or around the world.


Building a More Inclusive Future


It is possible to create a world that is safe and respectful for all, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As we embark on building a more inclusive future, IDAHOBIT serves as a call to action. Together, we can celebrate LGBTI+ diversity and advocate for a world free of violence and discrimination.


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