International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, & Biphobia 2021: Everything You Need To Know
What is it?
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (variously shortened to IDAHO, IDAHOTB, or IDAHOBIT) is an annual event held on May 17th to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights violations on such a large scale that politicians, the media, decision makers and the public can’t ignore it. It is currently observed in over 130 countries around the world, including some where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
There is a huge range in the types of event held for IDAHOBIT around the world each year. Past events have included music and film festivals, arts fundraisers, Pride marches, protests, queer activist awards, art installations and panel discussions.
How did IDAHOBIT start?
In 2004 Louis-Georges Tin, a prominent French academic and activist against homophobia and racism, founded the IDAHO Committee which campaigned for a year before the first IDAHO in 2005. The date May 17th was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organisation (WHO) removing homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases on May 17th 1990.
How does IDAHOBIT work?
The IDAHO Committee initially managed the initiative but as the website says it “is now collectively managed in collaboration between regional and thematic networks.” There is no single plan decided by one central authority, instead IDAHOBIT is an opportunity for grassroots campaigns to coordinate for visibility and take action on whatever LGBTQIA+ rights violation they want in whatever manner they think best. This allows for each organisation’s approach to be tailored to the specific social, religious, cultural, and political contexts the rights violations occur in. There is however a suggested ‘global focus issue’ to potentially structure events around.
Some groups participating in IDAHOBIT may also include Queerphobia, Lesbophobia or Intersexphobia as focuses for their action. Currently, Intersexphobia is not explicitly included in the IDAHOBIT name as the IDAHO Committee feels there is no global consensus of the Intersex community that it should be.
- May 17th 1990 – The World Health Organisation removes homosexuality as a mental illness from the International Classification of Diseases list (ICD-10)
- 2004 – Louis-Georges Tin founds the IDAHO Committee
- May 17th 2005 – the first International Day Against Homophobia is held
- 2006 - The Declaration of Montreal is passed by the World Outgames (a sporting a cultural event held by the queer community) demanding the UN officially recognise the International Day Against Homophobia
- 2009 – the name is changed to International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
- 2009 - the IDAHO Committee collaborates with dating site Gays.com to create the IDAHO Challenge where people around the world recorded a video of themselves saying how proud of their LGBTQA+ identity they are (Watch the full video here)
- May 17th 2009 – It is announced France will be the first country in the world to declassify ‘gender identity disorder’ as a mental illness
- 2010 - the IDAHO Committee collaborates again with Gays.com for the Great Global Kiss In, a kissing flashmob in over 60 cities around the world
- 2011 - the United Nations Human Rights Council passes its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights
- September 2013 – Louis-Georges Tin resigns as IDAHO Committee Chairperson and is succeeded by Tamara Adrián, a Venezuelan politician. (She is notable for being the first transgender person elected to office in Venezuela and the second transgender member of a national legislature in the Western Hemisphere.)
- 2015 – the name is changed to International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
- May 17th 2019 - Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia to perform same-sex marriages
What's left to achieve?
Despite all the advances in LGBTQA+ rights around the world, there's still a lot left to improve. Only 29 countries recognize same-sex marriage so far. Eight countries still have a death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. Conversion therapy is only illegal nationwide in Ecuador, Brazil, and Malta. And even in countries with laws meant to protect the rights of LGBTQA+ people, many still face homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and queerphobia on a daily basis.
IDAHOBIT 2021 and how you can get involved
The chosen theme for IDAHOBIT 2021 is: “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!”
Despite the pandemic, there are still plenty of awesome events being planned around the world, some of which are listed on the IDAHO website's blog. However, with it being such a huge international event, you're probably best checking with your local LGBTQA+ groups to find out what's on near you and how you can get involved. Or, plan your own event and make your voice heard on the issues that are important to you.
Here at Paxsies, we're committed to supporting the needs of the LGBTQA+ community and helping those voices be heard. Keep an eye out for our upcoming podcast where we'll be interviewing members of the LGBTQA+ community and talking about the topics that matter to them.