Sunday May 17 is International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations in 2014. These mobilisations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
The Day represents an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
It was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally and in under a decade, May 17 has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale.
The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder and was first known as the “International Day against Homophobia” and mainstreamed through its acronym “I.DA.HO” .In 2009 Transphobia was added explicitly in the title of the name, in the recognition of the very different issues at stake between sexual orientation and gender expression. “IDAHOT” became another popular acronym used alongside the initial one and finally since 2015, biphobia is added to the title, to acknowledge the specific issues faced by bisexual people.
The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia has received official recognition from several States, international institutions as the European Parliament, and by countless local authorities. Most United Nations agencies also mark the Day with specific events.
Across the UK leading youth charity Action For Children will be marking the day with a special online campaign. The group are encouraging all supporters to take part by sharing messages of support, solidarity and encouragement with LGBT youth.
Locally, At the University of Exeter several student-led events will be a part of Exeter Pride, which will be held on May 16th.
In Cheltenham, the iconic GCHQ building was lit in rainbow colours, with the goverment body commenting ” For GCHQ, illuminating the building in rainbow colours is a public statement about its pride in its diverse workforce, and is testament to how far the organisation has come.”