International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is observed on May 17. It aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations, and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. Phobia refers to fear of something. People tend to be more fearful when they lack knowledge, experience or a relationship with someone or something. Thus, raising awareness of the humanity of all people, and the importance of acknowledging everyone’s dignity as someone who is straight, homosexual, gay, lesbian, pansexual, asexual, bisexual, cisgender, nonbinary, or transgender is important.
Commemorations have taken place in over 130 countries. Observance is necessary because, as of 2019, 69 countries criminalized same-sex relationships. Also, in 26 countries, transgender individuals are subjected to punishments, and they are disproportionately at risk of violence across the globe. In 2021, United States president Joe Biden used IDAHOBIT to highlight efforts to alleviate LGBTQIA+ discrimination and to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act.
The founders of the International Day Against Homophobia, as it was originally known, established the IDAHO Committee to coordinate grass-roots actions in different countries, to promote the day and to lobby for official recognition on May 17. That date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. -A. Fuehrer