IDAHOBIT 2024: What is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia?

Three friends of varying gender identities relax in a park
(Image: The Gender Spectrum Collection)

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, or IDAHOBIT, held annually every 17 May to fight queerphobia in all its forms.

It was started in 2004 to highlight violence and discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people, and those of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions and sex characteristics.

The day also marks the anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Data from the ILGA World Database on LGBTQ equality this IDAHOBIT

Date 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 US 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, nine on gender expression, and five on sex characteristics.

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,” say organisers.

According to the official IDAHOBIT website, the day is recognised in 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Thousands of initiatives, big and small, are reported throughout the planet.

“The continued rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is deeply troubling”

To mark IDAHOBIT, charity Manchester Pride have highlighted ONS data which has found a 112% increase in LGBTQ+ hate crimes in the UK within the last five years.

Galop research also shows that that 64% of LGBTQ+ individuals who were victims of hate crimes also experienced abuse or violence.

In a statement, Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride, emphasised the critical role of education to enact change. “The continued rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is deeply troubling,” Fletcher said.

A trans couple sitting in a park
A trans couple sitting in a park

“Through our ongoing initiatives, such as our I Choose Kindness campaign and the All Equals Charter, we hope to educate communities, businesses and political leaders and build a deeper understanding of what LGBTQ+ people face for just being themselves.

“IDAHOBIT comes at a critical point within the current political and social landscape. It’s time we ensure no one is left behind and promote a sense of equality and freedom regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

This year’s IDAHOBIT follows a slew of recent headlines that spark concern on LGBTQIA+ equality moving backwards. This week alone, the government has revealed plan to ban discussion of gender identity in English schools, a gay British-Mexican man remains unable to leave Qatar after falling victim to a Grindr sting and three lesbian women have died after being set on fire in Argentina.

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