IDAHO : a global movement against all discriminations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
It may seem that these days sexual orientation and gender identity is getting less and less of an issue and people who live their gender identity and their sexuality differently from the majority enjoy comfortable and secure social and political spaces to do so.
When you have a closer look though, you will witness that there is increased homophobia and transphobia in a majority of places ; and the XXth century was actually one of the most homophobic periods ever in History.
Everywhere homosexuality and gender variance is being discriminated against ; in more that 80 countries in the world, same sex relationships are criminalised and in 7 of them, death penalty can be enforced.
Intolerance, prejudice, hate, ignorance and fear still largely prevail in individuals, groups, States, international institutions, etc…
This is why this international day to fight against homophobia and transphobia and for sexual freedom was created
Why an International Day against homophobia and transphobia- IDAHO ?
In 2008, sexual relations between persons of the same sex were punishable by death in 7 countries and considered to be some form of crime in more than 80 others. In most countries in the world, people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, intersex, queer, … community are being denied their fundamental human rights as defined, inter alia, by the Universal Declaration of Human Right, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Day has been launched with the idea of creating a worldwide community of activists and committed people, sharing the ideal of a world without homophobia nor transphobia in which everyone can freely choose their own sex life and gender identity.
In 2005, Louis-Georges Tin, university professor, intellectual, and homosexual rights activist, took the initiative of launching a International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and founded the IDAHO Committee , an international association aiming at developing this initiative.
Since then, hundreds of associations in more than 50 countries have used the Day to bring about public and political mobilization for LGBT rights.
In addition to being adopted by associations and movements, the Day is now officially recognized by a growing number of countries, provinces, regions, cities —from Mexico to Quebec, from the European Parliament to France, etc.
Why May 17th ?
May 17 was chosen because the date is the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s May 1990 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
This victory of the lesbian-gay-bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cause was a historic step towards considering freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity as a fundamental basic human right.
Countless activities are organized by associations all over the world. The IDAHO Committee itself also organizes seminars, events, and conferences every year.
In 2006, the IDAHO Committee launched a petition in favor of universal decriminalization. This petition was supported by many international associations, including International Lesbian and Gay Association - ILGA and the International Federation for Human Rights- FIDH , and also by many famous people throughout the world : 5 Nobel Prize winners (including Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu), 10 Pulitzer Prize winners (including Edward Albee and Tony Kushner), political leaders (such as Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission, and Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner), prominent intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler, and celebrities including Victoria Abril, Meryl Streep, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, Elton John, etc.
… and results
On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2005, the first public gay and lesbian demonstrations were held in China, Congo, and Bulgaria. These were historic events in each country concerned. In 2006, the IDAHO Committee co-organized the first Moscow Gay Pride.
Results of these activities are not, of course, always solely attributable to the IDAHO Committee or the World Day against Homophobia. Nonetheless, our work makes a significant contribution to advances in LGBT rights by creating a unique moment when mobilization takes place all over the world, generating in its turn other forms of mobilization and showing policy makers the collective strength of the worldwide LGBT movement.
The International Day against homophobia is facilitated by the IDAHO Committee , an international organization created by the Day’s founders to support and facilitate the development of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, support local community based actions and disseminate information.
The IDAHO Committee is a network. At national and regional levels, ad hoc coordination mechanisms have been set up to coordinate activities, disseminate information and spur people to action.