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May 17: International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) celebrates progress while calling for more inclusion

Celebrated annually on May 17, the International Day againsts Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (or IDAHOBIT) marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision in 1990 to decRead morelassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. At a time of anti-rights pushback, this year’s theme (“No one left behind: equality, freedom, and justice for all”) is a call for unity to create a world where no one is left behind Read less

 
 
Numerous initiatives are taking place worldwide in May to celebrate sexual and gender diversities as part of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT). Events registered on may17.org currently span over at least 60 countries and territories, with more being added in the coming days.

Celebrated annually on May 17, the day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

This year’s theme, “No one left behind: equality, freedom, and justice for all,” is a call for unity and solidarity at a time of global anti-democracy and anti-rights pushback, when many LGBTQIA+ individuals continue to face violence, stigma, and discrimination.

Since its inception in 2004, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia has served as a vital platform to raise awareness about the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals worldwide.

Despite significant progress, data from the ILGA World Database indicates that LGBTQIA+ people continue to face challenges in accessing their basic rights.

62 UN member States criminalise consensual same-sex relations, either by law or in practice. At least 59 countries have restrictions on freedom of expression related to sexual and gender diversity issues, and the past two years have seen an alarming acceleration of States enacting and debating such provisions. While laws protecting individuals from hate crimes based on sexual orientation exist in 59 UN member States, only 38 do so based on gender identity, 9 on gender expression, and 5 on sex characteristics.

Nevertheless, progress is being made. To date, 16 UN member States have implemented bans on so-called ‘conversion therapies’ at the national level. Nine have introduced nationwide restrictions on unnecessary interventions for intersex youth. Additionally, 17 UN member States allow for legal gender recognition based on self-determination at the national level, and 35 have legalised marriage equality.

Amidst progress and pushback, the theme of this year’s IDAHOBIT is a call for solidarity, and for everybody to unite in creating a world with social justice, where no one is left behind. Equality, freedom, and justice form the foundation of a democratic society where everyone is valued, respected, and celebrated, and where “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” represents a fully-fulfilled promise for everyone – including for people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please visit may17.org.

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 the IDAHOBIT, by coordinating the Working Group and hosting its Secretariat.