International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia

Friday, May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHO). IDAHO is inspired by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights that declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

In almost 76 countries around the world, loving someone of the same gender is still considered illegal and in some cases can result in lifetime imprisonment. In seven countries, it is even punishable by death. In many more countries still, citizens are denied their right to live according to their preferred gender identity.

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

The United Nations Office of Human Rights just released a video titled “The Riddle.” A diverse collection of LGBTQ people try to deconstruct the riddle of violence, discrimination and exclusion experienced by so many LGBTQ people around the world.

“Every nation is obligated by international human rights law to protect all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from torture, discrimination, and violence,” says Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The United Nations has one simple message to the millions of LGBT people around the world,” says U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. “You are not alone.”

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