International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, & Biphobia: Why It Matters

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) is a global event that aims to raise awareness about the LGBT community. It’s celebrated every year on May 1 and commemorates the World Health Organization’s 1990 decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

If you want to learn more about how and why IDAHOTB is celebrated, read on. We’ll also share important details on how you can participate and raise awareness about LGBTQ2SAI+ issues.

How And Why We Celebrate IDAHOTB

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) was created in 2004 to advance the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and sex characteristics.

The IDAHOTB’s goals include the following:

  • Attract media attention regarding homophobia and transphobia through protests, events, and other activities
  • Demand policies that provide comprehensive protection for the LGBTQ2SAI+ community
  • Network with and partner with like-minded organizations 

IDAHOTB is currently celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 places where same-sex acts are illegal. IDAHOTB is also officially recognized by several states, the European Parliament, and many United Nations agencies. While the initiative was originally managed by the IDAHOTB Committee, it’s now collectively managed by regional and thematic networks across the globe. 

Understanding The Theme

The IDAHOTB Committee announces a different theme for each year that is voted on by a large group of LGBTQ2SAI+ networks. In 2020, the theme was “Breaking the Silence”, with the objective of encouraging people from the LGBTQ2SAI+ community to speak up and share their stories. This theme goes against the notion that queer gender identities or sexual characteristics must be hidden to be acceptable.

In 2021, the theme will be “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!” The theme is meant to highlight the increased vulnerability of LGBTI individuals and organizations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants are encouraged to create their own visual material so that it accurately represents their situation. 

However, it’s important to note that the IDAHOTB is not one centralized campaign. Anyone can use the event to raise awareness on the specific issues they face, even if they deviate from the theme of the year.

5 Safe Ways To Celebrate IDAHOTB In The Time Of COVID-19

Even though it’s important to continue physical distancing, you can still celebrate IDAHOTB. Here are some safe ways to commemorate the event:

1. Make Noise

Given the global pandemic, it might be difficult to take to the streets and hold a parade to celebrate IDAHOTB. Still, there are plenty of symbolic ways you can create buzz and draw attention to LGBTQ2SAI+ issues.

One of the easiest ways to celebrate IDAHOTB is through social media. The IDAHOTB Committee provides visual materials that people can use to celebrate the occasion. You can also create your own posters and edit them as you see fit. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #idahotb2021 or #idahotb!

Aside from making a buzz online, you can make an impact offline. In the past, activists have staged “empty shoe protests” to show their support, even if they cannot be physically present. Some people also ask local authorities to paint street crossings in rainbow colors. You can also use rainbow-colored masks to show your support.

2. Contact Your Representative

One of the IDAHOTB’s goals is to influence policymakers to create laws that protect the LGBTQ2SAI+ community from discrimination. To make this happen, contact elected officials and ask them to begin the steps to reform. If you live in the US, here’s how you can reach out to your representatives

3. Start A Donation Drive

In the United States, there are plenty of organizations that advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ2SAI+ community. Donating is the best way to support these groups.

Consider donating to the following organizations:

4. Launch An Initiative At Work

Starting a movement at work can be one of the best things you can do to celebrate IDAHOTB. It can be as simple as adding a rainbow background to your online meeting or adding pronouns to your email signature.

You can also work with your company’s Human Resources department to send out a newsletter with existing company policies that support gender diversity and other ongoing efforts.

5. Join Or Host Live Programs

The IDAHOTB Committee has outlined ways on how people can come together and celebrate IDAHOTB without breaking physical distancing guidelines. Some of the suggestions include:

  • Cloud clubbing: A videoconference where like-minded individuals can come together and tune in to the same songs together. For IDAHOTB, you can play songs promoting LGBTQ pride.
  • Online film screenings: Teleconference apps like Zoom, Skype, or Team enable various groups of people to watch films together even when they’re apart. You can also organize a Netflix party with friends.
  • Reader circles: Invite your reader circles to discuss books or materials that talk about LGBTQ2SIA+ issues. You can send the reading list and topics in advance to prepare them for the May 17 discussion.

The Final Word

Highlighting issues that members of the LGBTQ2SAI+ community face is an important step towards change. By celebrating IDAHOTB, you can help meet this goal. You can raise awareness on your own by launching protests, joining live programs, or organizing at work.

Interested in more events involving the LGBTQ2SIA+ community? Stay tuned to our blog for more information on important LGBTQ2SAI+ celebrations!