International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia Celebrated Around the World

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), May 17, 2012, we recognized the tireless work of human rights defenders around the globe. In the face of harsh discrimination and persistent human rights violations, activists and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people everywhere demonstrate extraordinary resilience.

At the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), we are honored to partner with LGBT human rights defenders from Asia and Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa who work to end homophobia and transphobia in their communities.

By collaborating with colleagues and partners to document and report specific examples of homophobic or transphobic violence and discrimination to key human rights bodies, including the United Nations, we envision a world where one day the human rights of everyone, everywhere, are honored, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to the "Global Webportal for Information and Action on IDAHO," activists in nearly 100 countries around the world stood up and spoke out against homophobia and transphobia in their communities. The webportal collected inspiring stories and published news and events from several organizations.

El Diaro La Prensa, New York City's largest Spanish-speaking newspaper, hailed the day as "DIA DE ACEPTACION" (Day of Acceptance) and published several related articles on the topic of homophobic violence, financial assistance for transgender women who have been arrested, and an opinion piece about how homophobia impacts even those who aren't LGBT (all in Spanish).

Many organizations released groundbreaking resources this May 17th, including:

  • "Lost in Transition: Transgender People, Rights and HIV Vulnerability in the Asia-Pacific Region" published by UNDP and Asia Pacific Transgender Network
  • A summary report for "Impact of Homophobia and Transphobia on LGBTQ Individuals in Singapore" by Oogachaga
  • The Council for Global Equality released an NGO guide to human rights, titled "Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders"

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also made a splash on IDAHO, unveiling the official website for the IACHR Unit on LGBTI Rights which was created last fall.

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay spoke out in a video message underscoring her commitment to human rights for LGBT people, saying "When I raise these issues, some complain that I'm pushing for 'new rights' or 'special rights' for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But there is nothing new or special about the right to life and security of person, the right to freedom from discrimination."