The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

IDAHO banner WP

IDAHO – The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

The day is coordinated by the Parisian IDAHO Committee founded and presided by French academics, Louis-Georges Tin. It is celebrated in more than 50 countries worldwide, and recognised officially by the European Union, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Mexico, Costa-Rica amongst others.

Louis Georges Tin at the 5th Minsk LGBT Conference, organized by and Gaybelarus, in Belarus on Sept 26, 2009[1]

The international day against homophobia aims to coordinate international events to call respect for lesbians and gays worldwide. Unlike the LGBT Pride Day, which is meant to emphasise proudness of one’s sexuality and refusal to be ashamed of it, IDAHO is held to highlight:

“”… that in reality it is homophobia that is shameful and must be deconstructed in its social logic and fought against openly.” (wikipedia)

May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.

There has been a surge in violence against GLBTI People in the UK in recent years.

47% in Wales
22% in London
17% in Scotland

The British attitudes Survey suggests that a 1/3 of all people questioned believe that the GLBTI lifestyle is wrong.

Following an ITV Tonight Survey 30% said they would be ashamed if their son or daughter was GLBTI.

Psychologists suggest that this can only get worse in the economic climate, as people are looking for someone to blame they cannot get their hands on the faceless bankers so are using violence to lash out on those that many still find acceptable to abuse. The use of the term gay in the playground to suggest something is bad is just such a case in point.

It is thought that our society has moved on with civil partnerships, the Gender Recognition Act 2004, two transgender people winning Big Brother (UK Reality game show) and increased awareness of transgender issues in particular little has changed if anything it has got worse.

Even though gay or trans television comedians are tolerated, if they are walking down the street hand in hand with a male partner they are likely to still suffer abuse and this can lead to extreme violence, even murder in less tolerant areas.  A recent poll suggested 1 in 4 said they would be offended if they saw a same sex couple holding hands and half questioned said they would be outraged if they witnessed two men kissing in public.

“To quote one social commentator you cannot legislate to change people’s minds”. This is true bureaucracy and law does not change homophobic or transphobic views if they are held by individuals, and often the only place gay people are seen is in the rather sanitised environment of the other worldly tv studio.


The PR supremo Max Clifford has recommended that two premiership footballers not come out as it would likely destroy their careers, this approach is in line with the late Justin Fashanu who committed suicide in 1998 just 8 years after coming out in 1990. Football is an area where abuse is rife despite efforts to control it by the FA.


The abuse transgender people suffer is quite considerable in comparison as many transgender people are visually ‘out’ and factors such as the voice and or primary constitution clearly show the individual as unusual and thus a target for attack. In recent years the remember our dead website (located at and pre 2007) show the horrific reality of being trans in society.

The next event for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance is scheduled on November 20, 2010.

One of the most horrific attacks on a trans woman and resulted in a film is that of Gwen Araujo
where a trans woman was beaten to death and dumped in the dessert by a number of young men after they discovered she had male anatomy at a party.

Developing Countries

Another particularly poignant is that of Fanny Anne Eddy

A woman who was active in one of the most dangerous parts of the world and it cost her her life, her bravery will not be forgotten.  More…

It is clear that there is much work to do educating younger people in society and supporting campaigns such as IDAHO is essential If any progress is to be made.

Unfortunately away from the tolerant areas life is still a terrifying daily ordeal for many and if current trends continue can only get worse.



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