May 17th is IDAHOT day, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. So what’s it about, well it was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.
Some of us are lucky to live in countries where LGB&T people are protected from discrimination in the law some still have almost full equality with marriage equality being the latest to be added to the list of victories for LGB&T people, however this doesn’t mean that we do not experience homophobia, bipohobia and transphobia hate crimes, language or attitudes. It means we have some protection in the law, yet even on social media sites such as facebook, twitter and you tube homophobic language is prolific and often unchallenged by people and often when people face reported it, it hasn’t been dealt with. We hear stories of young people such as Leelah Alcorn who still feel it’s better to take their own lives than be who there are. So we still some way to go to exorcising the demon of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia from society, however we do have rights.
We can do well to remember how hard we fought for these rights and how now we need to turn our focus to countries where LGB&T people are persecuted and face discrimination, even torture, imprisonment and death! Look at ISIS and what’s happening in Syria and Iraq, where suspected gay men have been thrown off buildings and if they survived that stoned to death. Stories in the media of transwoman being murdered in Brazil and Latin America. The list is endless, what do our LGB&T brothers and sisters in these countries need, they need the media attention of the world focused on them, they need politicians and international organisations campaigning on their behalf. They need us to spread the word, to campaign as well write our leaders for them to lobby and advocate for us on their behalf.
This is why IDAHOT day is so important its for us to remember how far we have we come as well as for us to work on supporting our LGB&T brothers and sisters elsewhere have a chance of those rights as well. So donate some money, better still donate your time with a local LGB&T charity to campaign and raise awareness of this issue to our less informed heterosexual families, friends, co workers etc.
Remember we are far stronger together and international pressure will help them and let them know they’re not alone.
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