May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia and Trans*phobia which is an international day of awareness, advocacy and celebration of sexual and gender diversity. The day was created to attract the attention of policy makers, opinion leaders, media and the general public to the daily violence faced by LGBTQQIA2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and two-spirited) people around the world. In just a decade, the day has ballooned to be a significant call to action by queer folks to mobilize around international injustices.
Evolution of the day
May 17 was chosen as the date to commemorate the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The day was originally created in 2004, as the International Day against Homophobia or IDAHO.
In 2009, trans* activists helped change the name to include transphobia and the acronym became IDAHOT. The IDAHOT founding committee is still working on ways to reflect the multiple and distinct forms of queer oppression, like biphobia and cissexism, and is going through a process to create more reflective language by 2015. To contribute, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s no one set campaign around IDAHOT because of vast cultural and geographical differences in where the day is observed. Issues for queer are different in Brazil compared to Canada. However, the day acts as a catalyst and an opportunity for actions that impact regional, social or cultural policies to unify as a global movement. Unlike Pride, where LGBTQQIA2S folks refuse to be shamed, IDAHOT puts the focus on shameful violence happening against queer people.
Check out these quick actions from global campaigns and join the IDAHOT thunderclap - it’s like an online flashmob for LGBTQQIA2S voices. Get inspired by these protest ideas and then register your action.