Happy IDAHO!
Happy IDAHO!

People from all over the globe will be celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

A fete, a trans-formal, a film-reviews festival, a paste-up art exhibition and a flashmob are just a few of the ways that people and communities in Australia will be marking this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

The event takes place every year on May 17, the day in 1990 that homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases. The day aims to raise awareness of LGBT* rights, and the violence and discrimination that many LGBT people throughout the world continue to experience.

In almost 80 countries around the world, loving someone of the same sex is still considered illegal, at times involving lifetime imprisonment and, in nine countries, it is even punishable by death!

And in many more countries still,  citizens are denied their right to live according to their preferred gender identity.

As well as legal discriminations, social homophobia and transphobia serve to daily deny millions of people across the world their basic human dignity.

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to this issue.

It is not one centralised campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is now celebrated in more than 100 countries, in all world regions and in places as diverse as Australia, Iran, Cameroon or Albania.

It has received official recognition from several States and such international institutions as the European Parliament, and by countless local authorities. Most United Nations agencies also mark the Day with specific events.

LGBTI organizations, governments, cities, human rights organizations, corporations and celebrities have all taken action on May 17th to:

  • Draw media attention to the issue of homophobia and transphobia
  • Organise events which mobilize public opinion
  • Demand attention from policymakers and engage in lobbying activities
  • Network with like-minded organizations and develop new partnerships, at home or beyond
  • Mobilize existing constituencies and address new audiences