International: Appeal Against Transphobia and for the Respect of Gender Identity

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are reposting the following announcement from one of our partners.

Dear friends,

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia will be celebrated this year again on May 17th. Like every year, the “IDAHO” (as it is usually called), will see actions and initiatives take place in many countries and contexts and on many different issues. All these activities and initiatives are a very strong signal to all, decisions makers, public opinion, civil rights movements, human rights defenders, etc… throughout the world that our fights for our Rights as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex, etc… is vibrant ! The Day provides all different kind of actors with a very powerful opportunity to express their demands and to advocate for their case.

The Day has already been officially recognised by Mexico, Costa Rica, France, the UK, Belgium, the European Parliament, etc.... and the list keeps getting longer every year. This provides a forceful argument to engage initiatives even in contexts where authorities might not be supportive.

Why an Appeal against transphobia and for Gender Identity respect ?

Although the Day itself is open to any kind of activity by all organisations and people that want to join in, it also aims to use the extra public, political and media attention that it provides at all levels to highlight each year one specific aspect of the struggle for sexual rights. This year, it was decided to put this emphasis on the burning and often neglected issue of transphobia. We have therefore extensively consulted with Trans people groups at various levels and from various contexts to identify a focus that could be common to most organisations involved in campaigning on Trans issues. We have thereafter devised jointly an International Appeal that spells out our case. You will find this Appeal attached.

At international level, we have identified as targets both the UN system at large and the World Health Organisation, that still officially classifies Trans people as “mentally disordered".

But of course a lot of the struggle for Trans rights takes place at national level, so this Appeal also includes a section on the necessary national level policy changes.

What can you do with this Appeal ?

We hope that the extra media and policy attention that the IDAHO brings will be usefull for the campaigning and lobbying activities that Trans people organisations (and other organisations working on the issue) are working on, and that this focus on the Trans issue might even impulse new campaigning activities, reinforce existing networks and allow campaigning organisations to broaden their alliances and create interest among new audiences. So please feel free to use this Appeal in your campaigning and lobbying activities.

If you support the Appeal, it is important that you sign on to it and let us know, so we can consolidate this support.

Furthermore :

  1. If you are already campaigning on the international objectives (UN and WHO) or if you are interested in doing so and you are interested in joining strategic duscussions on this, we further would like to encourage you to join the rather informal working group that has started to form around this initiative. We suggest that all organisations that want to be in this working group are labelled co-sponsors and are identified with their logo on the Appeal.

    This Appeal is already co-sponsored by the Trangender Europe network and Gender DynamiX from South Africa, who have both been very actively participating so far. If your organization is interested in joining this working group, please do express your interest as soon as possible, and in any case before May the 1st. Please also provide your logo so that we can add it on to the document.
    In this initial phase of the campaign we, as IDAHO committee, will provide some facilitation for this working group but we hope it will soon become an adhoc coalition.

  2. It would be very powerfull if campaigning organisations in various countries came up with similar activities on or around May the 17th. This would help underline the global dimension of the mobilisation and support in-country activities. Again, we will provide initial facilitation of the reflection and the discussions. Please do share ideas that you have of potential actions. We will soon be circulating some proposals. In any case, please remember that our common fight will be all the more effective as we know about actions that take place everywhere around the world. This is why we strongly encourage you to send us information and feedback on your planned initiatives.
  3. What is the strategy so far to roll out this Appeal ?

    We have identified a two-phased strategy :

  • Up to May the 17th, we will try to secure as many "high level" endorsements as possible, either from activists, organisations, political parties, trade unions, (progressive) churches, celebrities, etc...
    We hope that we will be able to mobilise organisations and individuals not necessarily directly engaged into this issue, but sympathetic to our cause.
  • On May 17th, we will announce the support that this appeal has already gained, and invite all participating organisations to campaign with the wider public, whilst of course carrying on with high level signature chasing.

What can you do now ?

We hope that you will join us in this fight. We therefore strongly invite you to have this appeal endorsed by your organization and by any influential political actor or personality that you could contact at your level (such as political parties, trade unions, …).

If you are interested in joining the working group on the campaign strategy and become a co-sponsor, please contact us at this adress.

If you have ideas on actions, or want to share information on successful actions that have been organised, please send them to this adress too.

Please also send us information on any organization, group or individuals that you feel would be interested in knowing more about this action, so we can make sure to include them in any further communication.

And, of course, circulate this email as broadly as you can !

We very much look forward to hearing back from you on this initiative and wish you a strong and successful mobilisation

The IDAHO committee