International Day Against Homophobia–May 17th

On May 17, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Embassy Nairobi

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every May 17th. On that day in 1990, homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization. This victory of the lesbian-gay-bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cause was a historic step towards considering freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity a fundamental basic human right.

A little background…

May 17, 2005: As a result of a year-long campaign, 24,000 people worldwide and international organizations including International Lesbian Gay Association (ILGA), International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the coalition of African Lesbians, signed and recognized IDAHO. That month the first ever LGBT events were organized in Congo, China and Bulgaria. Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament, made a statement supporting IDAHO.

A new campaign was also initiated calling for a universal decriminalization of homosexuality. By May 17, 2006 it had attracted support from several Nobel Prize winners including Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, and José Saramago, artists including Meryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, and David Bowie, intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, and Bernard-Henri Lévy, as well as the International Federation of Human Rights.

In 2006, the IDAHO Committee and GayRussia co-organized the first GayPride celebration in Moscow, preceded by an International IDAHO conference that brought together many activists, organizations and politicians from around Europe and North America. In July of that year, thanks to the efforts of Foundation Emergence, the Montreal Conference on LGBT Human Rights was organized and included in its Declaration of Montreal a strong recommendation to ALL governments to recognize May 17th as the International Day Against Homophobia.

Homophobia, intolerance for the rights of individuals, and any form of attack against others, physical or verbal, is a form of abuse. All hate speech against an individual based on race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or ethnic roots has no place in our world in the 21st century.