IDAHOT 2019: Campaigning for a Prejudice-Free World

IDAHOT 2019: Campaigning for a Prejudice-Free World

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) is an event that aims to raise awareness of the human rights of the LGBTQ+ community. / Photo by: nito500 via 123rf


All of us are born free and equal in rights and dignity. We have been raised knowing that whatever our economic status, race, and gender, we must all have the same opportunities and treatment. However, that's not the reality in our world today, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. They receive the most discrimination and hate because of who they are. In some cases, they also face violence or death. 

According to a report from the United Nations Development Programme, 72 nations and territories around the world have existing laws against same-sex relationships while only 63 countries provide some form of anti-discrimination protection for the LGBTQ+ community. Although there has been a recent major milestone with regard to having equal rights, like Taiwan legalizing same-sex marriage, there's still a long way to go.

In an article by the Human Rights Campaign, HRC Global Director Ty Cobb said, “While countries and communities around the globe are increasingly embracing LGBTQ people, far too many of us still live with the threat of discrimination, violence and even death -- including in Brunei, where draconian laws are targeting LGBTQ people, and in Chechnya, where alarming human rights violations against LGBTQ people continue."

One of the global efforts for equality is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT), an event that aims to raise awareness of the human rights of the LGBTQ+ community. At the same time, it celebrates one's sexual and gender diversity while also campaigning against the violence and discrimination experienced by the community around the world. 

History of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

IDAHOT was launched in 2004, years after the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization approved the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD 10). ICD 10 no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis, thus, giving an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to forward their rights around the world. The event became a global occasion to educate people and, at the same time, advocate sensible public policies for the community. 

The event is celebrated on May 17 every year. It shows people across the globe that is critical for the international community to stand together in support of the LGBTQ+ community. It is also a way to honor advocates and allies, corporate leaders, global stakeholders, and even ordinary people who are committed to eradicating the stigma against the community and also protecting human rights. 

IDAHOT also constitutes an annual landmark to draw the attention of the media, the public, local authorities, and decision-makers to the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. Mobilizations and events around the world unite millions of people to support the recognition of human rights for all. It is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.

Justice and Protection for All

Raising our voices and standing firm against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and intersexphobia is a way for us to reaffirm our commitment to championing human rights and respecting human dignity. This year, IDAHOT focuses on the theme "Justice and Protection for All." This aims to bring forward the fact that there's a need for more legal and policy reform around the world to ensure there's just treatment and enough protection for the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe. 

Authoritarian and fascist regimes are on the rise in many areas around the world. The countries who experience this kind of governance are the most affected in terms of human rights and violence. One of the main targets of this injustice and social violence are people with diverse gender identities or expressions. In their official website, IDAHOT said, "On May 17th, individuals, organizations, institutions, corporations, etc. will speak out against LGBTIQI+phobias, continuing our collective journey towards societies that ensure justice and protection for all. In a fair and just world, no one shall be left behind!" 

Additionally, acknowledging the rights of the LGBTQ+ community is critical in a country's success. However, there's still much to look into if we want to achieve equality. For instance, while Taiwan’s parliament ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, they still don't get full marriage rights. In a report from the Medium, Jennifer Lu, chief coordinator of rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, stated that the country still needs to fight for co-adoption rights and gender equality education. 

How to Celebrate IDAHOT

There are a lot of ways to celebrate IDAHOT, especially if you are an advocate. For instance, you can join gatherings, protests, or mobilizations that fight for equal rights. In this way, we show why countries should acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community's rights. You can also initiate a small event that aims to educate or raise awareness of the struggles of the community. 

Another way to participate is to to get active on social media and show your support for LGBTQ+ rights. Since social media has a wide reach, it is a good platform to voice your opinions and encourage people to join the fight against gender-based violence and discrimination. It would be also helpful to call out our leaders to enact and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies and, at the same time, repeal punitive laws and ensure access to justice for all. 


One way to celebrate IDAHOT is to to get active on social media and show your support for LGBTQ+ rights. / Photo by: rawpixel via 123rf