International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia: Important As Ever
Post by Campaign Manager Dan Furmansky
From Havana, Cuba to Sofia, Bulgaria, LGBT people across the world are commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
IDAHO is celebrated every May 17 because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990. IDAHO now has traction worldwide, especially in Europe.
“Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is “deplorable, as it aims to denigrate people and deprive them of their rights on the basis of their sexual orientation,” European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on European gay pride marches last week. The European Parliament has approved a number of resolutions condemning discrimination and wants to “make sure that future generations of Europeans grow accustomed to a culture of openness, non-discrimination and tolerance”, Mr Buzek said. “So that in the future there no longer needs to be a day against homophobia.”
Sadly, that day has not yet arrived. IDAHO is as significant as ever.
We entered 2011 reeling from a slew of highly publicized, LGBT-identified teen suicides.
Just weeks ago…
a violent attack against a transgender woman at a Baltimore McDonald’s, allegedly motivated because of the victim’s gender identity and expression, was recorded on video and went viral. The attack shockingly displayed for millions of straight, cis-gender people what LGBT people already know — that hate and violence against our community, especially those who are gender non-conforming, is rampant. Some called this a moment akin to Stonewall in terms of its historical significance.
Just weeks ago…
Arizona just passed a law that actively discriminates against LGBT people in the adoption process – one of the worst laws of this type in the country. And Tennessee’s legislature voted to nullify a Nashville LGBT anti-discrimination law.
Just days ago…
Congressional Republicans attempted to forestall the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. News stories circulated about bi-national, same-gender couples being ripped apart by the federal government, even when they are legally married.
And the international human rights community and LGBT Ugandans breathed a sigh of temporary relief when the so-called “Kill The Gays” bill was narrowly averted from being passed by the Ugandan parliament.
On this very day…
as we actively commemorate IDAHO, LGBT and allied Minnesotans are actively struggling to defeat anti-LGBT efforts by the Republican majority in the legislature. A proposed bill that has already passed the state senate would put the rights of LGBT people up for a popular vote with the goal of writing a ban on marriage between same-gender couples into the state constitution…something that is already illegal in that state.
These anti-LGBT efforts take a very real toll. Just three months ago, Science News reported:
Young adults who are lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) are at far higher risk for severe mental health problems than their heterosexual peers. New research from Concordia University suggests that the stress of being rejected or victimized because of sexual orientation may disrupt hormonal responses in lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
With this news, it’s no wonder we need a Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.
The news, however, is not all bad. Poll after poll in the United States show that attitudes towards sexual minorities are becoming more tolerant, and in many cases more accepting. Anti-LGBT laws are being struck down and replaced with anti-discrimination and relationship recognition laws. Vocal anti-LGBT bigotry is becoming passe as straight Americans pick up the torch of LGBT equality as their own to carry. More and more people are feeling free to come out, to live their lives openly and honestly.
On this International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, we acknowledge where we are as LGBT people and allies at this moment. We honor how far we have come. We recommit to speaking out against bullying every time it occurs, and to standing on the side of love with all who are oppressed simply because of who they are.
Day after day, it gets better. And together, we are the ones making it so.