Hint: For any of you out there thinking that the US had just renamed a state, don’t worry – you haven’t been asleep that long!
IDAHOT stands for:
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia.
It all started back in 2004 (pre-Twitter days!) as a way of grabbing the attention of policy makers around the world, such as MP’s and politicians, opinion leaders and social movements. The IDAHOT movement launched on May 17th, it aimed to highlight the violence and discrimination undeservedly experienced by the LGBT+ community on an international scale.
Unsurprisingly, May 17th quickly became the most important date in the LGBT+ calendar. This day is where the LGBT+ community can be mobilised on an international scale in order to help shed light on the discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. This also applies to any person who does not conform to majority gender and sexual norms.
IDAHOT has risen to such a high level of popularity and is now celebrated in over 130 countries! However, the most important part of its international reach is the fact that it’s even celebrated in 37 countries where same-sex acts are still illegal. This is a huge knock on the door of the leaders of these countries, asking them to recognise and respect the LGBT+ community.
The growing popularity of IDAHOT as a day of celebration saw 1600 events, reported from the 1280 organisations who participated on 2014. With an extremely impressive turnout, these mobilisations help to unite millions of people by supporting the recognition of human rights, expression or identity – irrespective of their gender.
The beauty of the International day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is that it is not one centralised campaign. Instead it is a “moment” that all members of the LGBT+ community can enjoy and use as an opportunity to take action.
Funnily enough, May 17th was not chosen by chance, it was specifically chosen to commemorate the W.H.O’s (World Health Organisations) decision to declassify Homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. This landmark date for the LGBT+ community is one of great significant importance to all human beings.
IDAHOT has received recognition from the European Parliament and countless local authorities, as well as the day being marked with specific events organised by United Nation agencies.
LGBT+ activists from across the world have spoken out about IDAHOT and it’s effect on the coverage and treatment of the LGBT+ community:
“May 17 represents the only annual moment when we work together with organisations from other countries, on the same issues. We have other moments to talk about doing something, but May 17 is the moment when we actually do it” (China)
“The IDAHOT is a unique opportunity to see what happens elsewhere, to learn from what others do, to launch joint actions with others who work in similar contexts– it breaks the feeling of isolation we so often experience” (Algeria)
“The fact that we know thousands of other activists are taking action on the same day is an incredible booster of our self confidence. We actually see that the global community somehow exists” (Cambodia)
As well as international activists celebrities have also spoken out and shared their supportive views about the cause, and this one from Bjork is by far one of our favourites!
So whatever you’re doing today, spare a thought for the millions around the world who are unable to freely express themselves everyday. This is something that many of us take for granted every day of our lives. If you want to make a difference, then please show your support.
If you have been affected, inspired or empowered by the LGBT+ community or the events of May 17th, please visit the official IDAHOT website to find out how you can become more involved in the movement!