“Alliances for Solidarity” is the global theme for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT). On May 17, we rise against all forms of hatred and violence that LGBTTIAPQQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, asexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, two spirited) people still face. At the same time, we work to strengthen alliances, especially when there is an ongoing need to ensure safety, lobby for legal change, and/or campaign to change hearts and minds. These alliances also highlight the necessity for all marginalized groups regardless of race, sexual orientation and gender to come together as a strong collective force as powerful agents of change. There is also an ongoing need to call for solidarity within these groups because the rights of one specific group cannot be solidly secured if the rights of other groups are left unchallenged.
May 17 was chosen as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) because it marked the day, in 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of International Classification of Diseases. Before this date, it was listed as a mental illness and practices such as ‘aversion therapy’ were used to ‘cure’ homosexuality.
Today, IDAHOT is celebrated in more than 130 countries around the world, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. In these countries, homosexuality and transgender identity are criminalized and LGBTTIAPQQ2S people continue to be violently persecuted because of it.
In over a decade, IDAHOT has established itself as the single most important date for LGBTTIAPQQ2S communities to mobilize on a worldwide scale. Millions of people are united in support of the recognition of human rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Nonetheless, full-fledged legal recognition remains a challenge in many jurisdictions despite the efforts of IDAHOT and similar movements. Many LGBTTIAPQQ2S people still lack rights when it comes to marriage, adoption, inheritance, and insurance.
In Canada, IDAHOT is promoted by Fondation Émergence, a not for profit organization that educates, addresses and looks to change the negative realities faced by the LGBTTIAPQQ2S community. More importantly, it showcases and celebrates their achievements and contributions to society.
For more information on IDAHOT:
Check your local listings for possible IDAHOT events taking place. Here are some that are available: