Every May 17, our global communities mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which this year takes place under the theme Our “bodies, our lives, our rights”.

On this occasion, ILGA World is sharing video interviews with human rights defenders from across the world, reflecting on the importance of this day and on this year’s theme. Subtitles available in English and in Spanish. Click on the bar below each video to access a transcription of the clip.

Renae Green, TransWave Jamaica

So, I am from TransWave Jamaica, and we are the first trans-led and focused organisation operating in Jamaica.

Why is IDAHOBIT such an important days for our communities to recognise?

For queer and – you know – queer, trans, and non-binary people, it’s a day that recognises our existence, it recognises our struggles, it recognises where we’re coming from and our rights to exist as a people.

As a group of people that have been historically marginalised and oppressed and abused, it’s a day to recognise our existence, to recognise where we are coming from, and to recognise where we want to go as a community as a collective, as a people.

What does Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights – the theme of IDAHOBIT 2022 – mean to you?

Well, as a trans-feminine person, my body is constantly policed. You know, the conversations about what my body looks, the conversation about my body as it relates to my gender identity is constantly the subject of debate. And so it’s really important, because my community is also expected to look a particular way: we’re expected to be a particular thing, and that’s not something that is healthy for the people that we represented and for myself as a trans person.

It’s so important to recognise that trans bodies are diverse, but also to just recognise the autonomy that trans persons should have over their bodies, and (that we) should be able to make certain decisions as it relates to our bodies and our gender identities – because, you know, both aren’t mutually exclusive. Being told that our bodies need to look a specific way has certain implications and effects, and so this is why (Our bodies, our lives, our rights) is such an important topic: because it’s bringing awareness around this pejorative perspective that trans people need to look like a Victoria model to be affirmed within their identity, and that’s not true.

There are many trans people that look like I do. There are many trans people who don’t fit into the narrative of what people say we should look like. Not all of us are going to look like Laverne Cox or you know, any of the other beautiful trans women and trans people that exists in the world.

All bodies are beautiful, and all bodies should be respected.


Margherita Coppolino, Invictus Health (Australia)

I am Margherita Coppolino. My pronouns are she/her. I represent Invictus Health which is actually an organisation in the ILGA Oceania region. I am born in Australia, but my parents are Italian – so that means I’m first generation Australian.

Why is IDAHOBIT such an important days for our communities to recognise?

It has always been to me a celebration, and about creating a safe space – a culturally safe space for young people to feel safe about coming out.

What does Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights – the theme of IDAHOBIT 2022 – mean to you?

That’s a great question. I remember growing up when I was very young that I actually had a lot of problems with accepting my physical body, and it has taken a long time – the journey through my life – exploring my own intersectionality to become comfortable with the body I am in.

So the theme for this year is so appropriate. The more you love your body, the more people will love you and your body, too.


Luca Stevenson, European Sex Workers’ Rights Alliance

I’m Luca Stevenson and I work for the European Sex Workers’ Rights Alliance.

Why is IDAHOBIT such an important days for our communities to recognise?

It’s very critical for LGBTQI communities and our allies to stand together on IDAHOBIT to really take a strong stand against homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and all form of oppression against LGBTIQ people.

What does Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights – the theme of IDAHOBIT 2022 – mean to you?

I work with the European Sex Workers’ Rights Alliance: we work a lot with LGBTQI sex workers, and many of us LGBTQI people are also working as sex workers, often because of exclusion from the labour market, because of transphobia, because of homophobia, because of being rejected by our families and facing lots of other discrimination.

And when we talk about “Our bodies, our rights, our lives”, this is a slogan that really means a lot for LGBTQI sex workers, in particular the importance of reclaiming the right to use our own bodies the way that we see fit.

And in the context of sex work is very important to recognise that yes, many LGBTQI people do sex work because of lack of opportunities, but in the end, it is also a tool for survival for some of the most marginalised members of our communities.

So, I think it’s really critical – when we talk about generally LGBTQI rights and the fight against homophobia and transphobia and biphobia – to really include some of the most marginalised members of the community such as sex workers, and recognising that unless we fight for all LGBTQI people including the most marginalised, until we achieve this goal, then we won’t achieve liberation for all in the community.


Kenita Placide, Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality

Hi, I’m Kenita Placide and I’m the Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality and I am based in St Lucia.

Why is IDAHOBIT such an important days for our communities to recognise?

If we look at the history of IDAHOBIT, and even get into that recognition, it is definitely one of visibility and amplification. It is recognising that not all countries’ citizens can be free to express themselves, and for those of us who can in different parts of the world: how can we do it but do it safely?

And so IDAHOBIT really brings out… and I mean: we will have to recognise that IDAHO has really transformed in ensuring that it’s all inclusive and what that means. So I think it is important to still have those activities, to still have those days: if we think about all the international days the UN recognises… it is just like thinking about why it’s important for IDAHOBIT to still remain a very visible, you know, and active space, because sometimes we speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves, but sometimes we also give opportunity to those to celebrate in their own way, to still have that kind of recognition within themselves, to celebrate that they are alive, to celebrate that they are not alone in it.

I think that is one of the very important messages, because whenever so often it can become so isolating, it can also bring in that feeling of loneliness, and I think it’s part of the reason why, if we think about our community and the high levels of depression and mental health, we understand there is absolute need to continue pushing those barriers.

Maybe one day we won’t have to celebrate it anymore, but it also helps us set forward a recognition of work that has been done previously. So, I believe that we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. And, in each space we are in, we try to create additional spaces not just for us here today, but for seven generations ahead and what they will have to celebrate about.

What does Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights – the theme of IDAHOBIT 2022 – mean to you?

When I thought about the theme – you know, “my body, my right” – I thought, OK: it’s actually about affirmation of individuals and seeing individuals where they are, how do they want to be seen. I think a lot of time we as people tend to come to a space with our own bias, we see things in a particular way. Even when we think about it, we are constantly challenging social norms, but sometimes we also have to challenge ourselves within that social norm of what does this represent.

As an individual who have been very masculine presenting, who does not identify as a trans man, who does not identify as a lesbian, who I think like is within the LGBT spectrum but really doesn’t like wearing labels, what does that mean for me? I think really and truly: can you see me? can you see my skills? can you see my personality? can you see what I bring to the table without necessarily being put in a box? And that’s why I love this theme.


Henry Tse, Transgender Equality Hong Kong

My name is Henry Tse, I’m from Hong Kong and I’m the chairman of an organisation called Transgender Equality Hong Kong.

Why is IDAHOBIT such an important days for our communities to recognise?

IDAHOBIT is important to us, the LGBT community around the world, because it was on this day that homosexuality was officially de-medicalised by the WHO. So, this is a milestone for the LGBT movement, because we are no longer seen as the as the “sick” and the “diseased”. And why do we need to still celebrate it now, in 2022? Because if we look back to the progression, and compare the trans movement to the LGBT movement, gender dysphoria has only been removed from the mental health chapter a few years ago, and we still have so much to do for the trans movement. So we do still need the IDAHOBIT day, to use this as an opportunity to advocate for trans equality, for LGBT equality, and to raise awareness for banning ‘conversion therapy’ around the world, for example: there’s still many places that still have these harmful practises in place and that are doing so much harm to LGBT people around the world.