GENEVA, 16 May 2023 - From the Cook Islands to Lesotho, Jamaica, and Canada, thousands of initiatives will be held across the planet on May 17 to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT). Events registered on may17.org currently span around 50 countries and territories, and more are being added in the upcoming days.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans persons, and more broadly against all people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics. Thanks to the coordination of a global Working Group and the initiatives of thousands LGBTQIA+ activists and allies, the day is celebrated every May 17, marking the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Data available in the ILGA World Database show how true equality continues to be very far from reach for many LGBTQIA+ people worldwide: 6 UN member States legally impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts, and there is no legal certainty of its application in 5 more States. As many as 64 UN member States criminalise consensual same-sex relations: 62 of them criminalise de jure (laws criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts); 2 criminalise de facto (in practice, relying on other laws.) At least 51 countries have restrictions on freedom of expression related to sexual and gender diversity issues, including in educational settings.
And yet, progress is happening across the world. To date, 11 UN member States have moved to ban so-called ‘conversion therapies’ at the national level. 7 have introduced nationwide restrictions to unnecessary interventions on intersex youth, and 20 allow for legal gender recognition based on self-determination. Marriage equality is now a reality in 33 UN member States. Laws that protect people from hate crimes on the grounds of their sexual orientation exist in 58 UN member States, but only 37 do so based on gender identity, 9 on gender expression, and 5 on sex characteristics.
Despite this progress, history has taught LGBTQIA+ communities that hard-won advances can be easily taken away. This is why the theme of this year’s International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia - decided through a large consultation with LGBTQIA+ organisations and networks from around the world - focuses on the power of solidarity across movements, identities, and borders to keep bringing about change.
“Together always: united in diversity” is a response to times when progress is increasingly at risk: when we unite, in all our beautiful diversity, we can really bring about change!
NOTE: To facilitate participation at all levels in such a relevant day for our communities worldwide, as of January 2023 ILGA World has taken a more active role around IDAHOBIT, by coordinating the Working Group and hosting its Secretariat.