Last Saturday May 17, was the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia or IDAHOT, a day where communities stand up against violence and oppression. It is also a day to promote freedom, diversity, and acceptance. In 2013, IDAHOT was celebrated by events held in 113 countries and was officially recognized as a National day in Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Luxemburg, Spain, Brazil, Croatia, and by the European Parliament.
Facts about LGBTQIA Issues around the Globe:
- 81 countries still criminalize being LGBTQIA
- 4.9 billion or 2/3 of the world’s population have their right to information or expression around sexual and gender diversity systematically violated by their State. (IDAHOT)
In Omaha, Nebraska – IDAHOT was celebrated by a rally at the intersection of 72 and Dodge Streets where LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) community and allies gathered to take a stand against hate and violence.
- In 2012, there were 1,318 confirmed hate crimes offenses based on sexual orientation bias. – Federal Bureau of Investigation
At the rally, we also called for full federal equality and encouraged people to take the Full Equality Pledge because the LGBTQIA community is entitled to equal human rights.
- In 29 states, you can be fired based on your sexual orientation and in 32 states based on your gender identity.
- In 29 states, you can be denied public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, etc.) based on your sexual orientation and in 34 states based on your gender identity.
- In 33 states, there is no law giving protection to K-12 students who are bullied and harassed based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
It was awesome and uplifting to see the reaction by the people driving by. I full heartedly believe that we made a big impact on the hearts and minds of people in Omaha who saw us saturday rallying against hate and standing up for full federal equality. From the child sitting in the backseat of his mother’s car seeing people standing up for human rights, to the sister who will get a picture of her brother and his daughter standing with protesters fighting for her rights. It was a powerful rally. I am glad to have been a part of it and NO ONE can take that away from me.
This year, IDAHOT was celebrated by events held in over 120 countries and events were even held by activists in countries that still criminalize being LGBTQIA. For instance, in Russia activists organized balloon release “flashmobs” in 13 cities and in Khabarovsk and St. Petersburg, activists were attacked. In several other countries, events had been cancelled under pressure from their governments. (IDAHOT)
Highlights from around the Globe on IDAHOT:
- Global Leaders spoke out, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,
“Millions of people around the world observe the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17. (…) I believe in and strive to achieve a world rooted in tolerance, freedom, and equality; a world where we are ALL free to live a life of dignity. There are no exceptions. Human rights are for everyone, no matter whom you are or whom you love.”
- United Nations office of the Commissioner for Human Rights released a video campaign for the day.
- United States President Barack Obama released a statement,
“As we commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we recommit ourselves to the fundamental belief that all people would be treated equally, that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, and that no one should face violence or discrimination – no matter who they are or whom they love.”
- President of Costa Rica raised the rainbow flag outside the Presidential Palace.
- President of Mexico tweeted,“Because we are making Mexico a country of equality, today we celebrate for the first time the National Day Against Homophobia.”
- In several countries where LGBTQIA people face severe stigma and public persecution, the embassies of many countries, including the United States, Canada, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Finland, German, and France flew the rainbow flag. (IDAHOT)