17 May 2012

The Whole World's IDAHO

"You learn something new every day."  At least, that's what my mother always says.  

At least it was true for me today.  I found out that this is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), and that it's being marked all over the world.  Following such initiatives as the National Day Against Homophobia, which was launched in the Canadian province of Quebec in 2003, IDAHO, French university professor Louis-Georges Tin launched an initiative to create an Day Against Homophobia that would be international in scope.  He prooposed that the Day would be observed on 17 May to commemorate the World Health Organization's decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. His efforts led to the first IDAHO in 2005, when a number of organizations and famous individuals signed the "IDAHO Appeal."

I am glad that this day, and the Transgender Day of Remembrance, are observed.  However--to paraphrase what some have said about Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving and other holidays--every day should include efforts against homophobia and transphobia, and a commemoration of those who were killed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

It's especially important to keep homophobia and transphobia--and the violence they generate--because of misconceptions some people still have. "Whenever I raise these issues, some complain I'm pushing for 'new rights' or 'special rights' for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," says Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  "But there is nothing new or special about the right to life and security of a person, the right to freedom from discrimination."