Today, May 17, is celebrated globally as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT).
According to the May 17 website, 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.”
This is a day to not only say no to violence and discrimination against LGBT+ persons but also a rallying cry to ensure equality, dignity, and full respect for human rights of all sexual and gender minorities, including all LGBT+ living with HIV.
The day was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT+ people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics. The date of May 17 was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The theme for this year is “Together: Resisting, Supporting and Healing”
At HJN, we note that HIV still disproportionately affects many in the LGBT+ community. In many regions of the world, punitive laws and practices against LGBT+ individuals continue to block effective responses to HIV. Evidence and experience have shown that punitive laws and practices drive sexual minorities away from HIV services.
Some of these punitive practices include criminalisation of same-sex relationships, ‘effeminate’ behavior, cross-dressing, sodomy, and ‘gender impersonation.’
To learn more, this Wednesday, the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Groups on HIV & AIDS; Global LGBT+ Rights; and STOPAIDS will host a virtual parliamentary event: HIV and the criminalisation of LGBT+ communities to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
The event will bring together leading HIV and LGBT+ community representatives from around the world. Through a panel discussion and Q&A, they’ll be exploring the barriers that LGBT+ communities face from realising their right to health and how parliamentarians and the UK Government can advance the decriminalisation of LGBT+ and HIV.
Chaired by Rt Hon David Mundell MP, panelists include:
- Joel Simpson – Managing Director, Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana)
- Simran Shaikh, Co-Founder of Rajmala Welfare Society and Director Transgender Health at John Hopkins University School of medicine
- Jesse Sperling, Deputy Director, Kaleidoscope Trust
- He-Jin Kim, Regional Key Populations Programme Officer, AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)
- Saoirse Fitzpatrick, Advocacy Manager, STOPAIDS
To RSVP, please email Anna Robinson at email@example.com