May 17th – International Day Against HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA
IDAHO 2012 – first impressions
gggIDAHO 2012 – first impressionsggg
By the IDAHO Committee team
News getting in about global mobilization worldwide. New countries joining International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia celebrations for the first time, including countries among those which keep 1,5 BILLION people under laws that criminalize same sex relationships. The Day sees first-ever public events in many places, including Burma, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates. Hundreds of millions of people reached by anti-homophobia and transphobia messages, as media massively covers IDAHO mobilizations worldwide.
With reports coming in from all over the world, the 2012 edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia seems like it will be breaking new records. All countries in Latin America, North America and almost all countries in Europe have now invested the Day for annual action. Despite threats, IDAHO events were successfully held in Saint Petersburg, defying the ‘Don’t say Gay’ law, Albania, Serbia, amongst others. In Asia, most countries are on the ‘IDAHO map’, with cancelation of activities in Malaysia due to threats being one of the sad moments of this year’s celebrations. In South Korea the Day is marked for the first time. In Burma, it sets the stage for the countries first-ever LGBT events, with activities in 7 cities across the nation.
In many countries in Africa and the Middle-east, criminal laws make it virtually impossible to act from within the country. Nevertheless, the Day provides an unique annual opportunity for action, including in most unlikely places like Iran or the United Arab Emirates. Algeria and Botswana joined this year for the first time the list of countries where activists invest IDAHO to take action. Also, groups from the Diaspora increasingly make their voices heard on the Day, and many foreign diplomatic and cultural representations are vocal on the Day in voicing their opposition to laws criminalizing same-sex relationships.
The Day provided also again the opportunity to mobilize top political institutions against homophobia and transphobia. More than 50 EU politicians collectively recorded a video to support LGBT young people, on the mode of the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign. At UN level, the heads of UNAIDS and UNDP marked the day and added their voices to the High Commissioner for Human Right who recorded a video ahead of the day in support of activists’ mobilizations. The pan-American section of the World Health Organization issued a groundbreaking scientific position paper against the so-called ‘conversion therapies’. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon spoke out on May 17 to invite world leaders to “tackle violence against LGBT people, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, ban discrimination and educate the public”
Often too little visible in the mass of events, the mobilization of the Trans community deserves a special mention, with campaigns taking place in Latin America, public events and campaigns in Asia, and a regional initiative in support of the Trans community in Turkey which, like in many other places, pays a specially high tribute to discrimination, stigmatization and violence.
This year, social networks are particularly active in IDAHO celebrations, with for example ‘Wipe out Homophobia of Facebook – WHOF’ mobilizing their 1 million member, or Grindr sending out a message to their 3.5 million members, to name just the biggest ones.
Activists particularly invested the mobilization around this year’s theme “fighting homophobia and transphobia in and through education”, with organizations in more than 30 countries taking actions which ranged from national conferences, to teachers and students taking the ‘IDAHO lesson against bullying’. UNESCO launched it’s innovative international resource pack on this issue during an international IDAHO conference in Paris.