It stands for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is marked on 17 May every year, to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in 1990.
In Singapore, it will be marked by the book launch of I Will Survive: Personal gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender stories in Singapore.
The UN Human Rights Office released the following video message to mark IDAHO 2013. The video includes cameo appearances by UN Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. The UN’s message: LGBT rights are human rights. Together we will build a world that is free and equal. You are not alone.
So what are homophobia and transphobia?
Homophobia refers to a person’s fear, hostility or disgust towards homosexuality, and a prejudiced view that lesbians and gay men are wrong, illegal, sick, immoral or sinful. Simply put, it is a discriminatory, anti-gay point of view that is usually based in ignorance and hate. Likewise, transphobia is the term used to describe similar negative attitudes toward transgender people.
Homophobia and transphobia can result in a person’s avoidance of being associated with lesbians, gay men and transgender people, for fear of being perceived as lesbian, gay or transgender themselves. This person could be non-gay or non-transgender.
Some everyday international examples of homophobia and transphobia include:
- Students being called names and bullied by their peers in school, for behaving differently.
- Women getting raped so that they can be “corrected” and stop becoming lesbian.
- People voting to stop same-sex couples from having the right to be married.
- Police action against gay and lesbian activists.
- Being deprived of your rights because you have a different gender identity.
- People objecting to transgender women taking part in the Miss Universe pageant.
- Media depictions of gay or transgender people, which perpetuates negative stereotypes; or censorship of positive portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.
- Having legislation that criminalises consensual sex between adult men.