Happy International Day Against Homophobia (May 17)


It’s that time of year we all look forward to – Pride month and the various celebrations to recognize the impact that the LGBTQIA community has on the world.

While we have a lot to celebrate we must continue to do more than just celebrate and party especially now as the world slowly opens up from the Covid-19 pandemic. We must continue to bring awareness and fight to make sure that continued discrimination, people who commit crimes against members of the LGBTQIA are prosecuted and violence comes to an end.

So, this month, we have an opportunity to bring attention to the many issues we face. Do you know what May 17 is? It’s more than just another spring day – it’s The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was established in 2004 to bring attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex and people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and sex characteristics.

We still need days like May 17 set aside to bring attention to the continued struggles and discrimination that members of the LGBTQIA community continue to face.

According to the May17.org website, the date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organizations decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. “The Day represents a major global annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, local authorities, etc. to the alarming situation faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics,” states the website.

Our trans brothers and sisters and gender nonconforming people have been at the forefront of facing brutal attacks and even murders. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) website, this year alone has seen at least 15 transgender or gender nonconforming people shot or killed by some violent means. Many of these victims were Black and Latinx. Last year, the HRC reported that there were 44 fatalities of transgender and gender non-conforming people. 2020 is said to be one of the most violent years on record since they began tracking these crimes in 2013.

Unfortunately, there is so much work left to be done. If you have thought about what you could do to bring awareness to the issues facing our community, why not decide to have your voice heard in some way on May 17. Volunteer at a local LGBTQIA non-profit organization or shelter. Reach out to your local legislators and express your concerns and need for legislation to help members of the LGBTQIA and to bring an end to discrimination and consequences for those who seek to bring harm to our community.

May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Thousands of initiatives, big and small, are reported throughout the planet, according to the organization’s website.

So, I urge you to make a plan to celebrate May 17 – The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It’s a day that everyone can decide to take action on whatever issue and in whatever creative way/events you choose. Spread the word and let’s make a plan to get involved and continue to fight for not only our rights, but our safety.

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