Rainbows abound: How the world is marking International Day against Homophobia

They say there's a pot of gold waiting at the end of every rainbow. As the world observes International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, the LGBTQ community stands unified, doused in rainbow colours, still waiting for its pot of gold.

Representational Image. AFP.

Representational Image. AFP.

While 30 countries have legalised same sex conduct, 75 countries still criminalise same sex relationships, 10 out of which condemn same sex relationships as punishable by death, according to Human Rights Campaign, which is a civil rights organisation working for LGBTQ rights in the US. Under such conditions, it becomes imperative that the world shows solidarity by acknowledging the violence and the discrimination that the LGBTQ community still faces, as well as celebrating the advancements.


IDAHOT is celebrated annually on 17 May to commemorate WHO's decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. IDAHOT was created in 2004 and is now celebrated in more than 120 countries, whether in triumph or in defiance.

For example, the United States continues to show its support for the LGBQT community. Same sex marriage, though, which was legalised in 2015, still faces continued criticism from Christian conservatives and religious fanatics. However, President Obama's unwavering support has sustained the movement in terms of political approval.

According to a Gay Star News report, Human Rights First, a non-profit human rights organisation, will honour International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia during a Capitol Hill reception featuring Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino, State Department Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry, and activists from Jamaica and Ukraine. The activists in particular will speak about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ people in their communities as well as their recent successes. Their work along with that of other activists in combating discrimination and possibilities of US supporting their efforts further will be discussed.

Meanwhile in Canada, President Justin Trudeau on 17 May announced that he will introduce a trangender rights bill "to ensure the full protection of transgender people".

"We must continue to demand true equality," said Trudeau. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions, and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality." as reported by IANS.

There has been progress in other parts of the world as well. In Australia, Brisbane gears up to adopt marriage equality as its official policy in Brisbane City Council (BCC). BCC plans to formally vote on marriage equality on IDAHOT night as reported by Star Obeserver .


In Britian, David Cameron promises to improve LGBT rights and has pledged to speed up the process of making PrEP, the drug that can prevent people contracting HIV, available to people.Cameron made these promises as he hosted members of the LGBTI community in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street, ahead of IDAHOT.

He also assured granting pardons to all the gay and bi men convicted for consensual gay sex before homosexuality was decriminalized, reports Gay Star News.

The government of Israel, in its efforts to support the LGBT community's needs, announced allocation of funds to assist the community, transgenders in particular, on 17 May to observe IDAHOT. The Welfare and Social Services ministry is set to open a hostel for men and women who have recently undergone sex change surgery, which will provide intensive therapies as well as help the transgender population group gain empowerment and advancement towards an independent life, as reported by The Jerusalem Post.

Apart from countries making crucial policy changes, individuals too are doing their bit by openly protesting against repressive systems. In Hunan, China,a gay couple had filed a lawsuit last year for the right to be married, and a local court surprisingly accepted the case, as China still prohibits same sex- marriage, but a judge ruled against the couple last month.

Despite the court ruling, the couple plans to hold a marriage ceremony in a park on 17 May, reports Taipei Times. 120 countries and more than a million individuals have come together to celebrate this day, through pride parades,protests, parties and film screenings. Therefore, the fight remains strong, the world stands in solidarity, and the pot of gold, weighs as heavy as ever, ready to spill.


Published Date: May 17, 2016 03:01 pm | Updated Date: May 17, 2016 03:22 pm



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