International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
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International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

For International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), our Associate  Amelia “Ace” Armande kindly wrote this piece for us. Ace is a storyteller, theatrical advisor, creative facilitator and a changemaker.  Ace currently facilitates workshops as part of our anti-oppression work and co-delivers anti-racist training in the creative space.

IDAHOBIT makes me sad. It isn’t the raucous carnival of Pride, or the absorbing stories of LGBTQ+ History Month. You can’t even say its name without saying the words homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. It’s not for something – it’s a day against violence towards the queer community, highlighting the ongoing barriers and challenges that are still being faced by LGBTQ+ people across the world.

It sucks. I don’t want to need this day.

I will often find myself trying to avoid posts around IDAHOBIT, because I know that they will be full of statistics and situations that make me feel hopeless and helpless. The algorithm is only too happy to fill my feed with stories of death and violence against queer bodies, along with what can seem like a growing trend of LGBTQ+ rights stalling or even being rolled back across the globe. Survey data from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights shows that two thirds of gay people are still afraid to hold hands with their partner in public. That a third of intersex people are still treated as having a disease. That between 2012 and 2019, harassment and violence towards trans people has gotten worse. This isn’t news to me. I live it. I see it in the lives of my friends. It’s exhausting.

And yet.

IDAHOBIT has been recognized and commemorated by over 130 countries. Joe Biden used the date in 2021 to highlight LGBTQ+ discrimination and call on Congress to pass the Equality Act. May 17th itself was chosen to commemorate an amazing step forward in LGBTQ+ rights: the day in 1990 that the World Health Organisation stopped classing homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Where queer pain is so often dismissed, ignored and covered up, the visibility that IDAHOBIT brings is deeply needed. Having politicians and news media raising the profile of this day means that people can’t as easily claim ignorance of these issues. And allies who are out there and want to help can learn where to put their efforts.

The IDAHOBIT theme for this year is “No-one Left Behind: Equality, Freedom and Justice for All”. Its focus is on intersectionality – the layered complexity of being marginalised in multiple ways. The unique situations that are encountered by people who are queer and racialized, queer and femme, queer and disabled, to name but a few. It reminds us that the fight for civil rights is a universal one, and that whatever corner of the struggle we put our energy into, helps the collective. As black lesbian poet Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

So yes, IDAHOBIT makes me sad. That’s kind of the point. I wish we didn’t need it, but while we do, I am glad that it’s there. Because it’s not just a day standing against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – it’s a day that shows just how many of us are standing together, for each other.

To learn more about IDAHOBIT events happening across the UK, visit the page.

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