Supporting Love, Fighting Hatred: International Day Against Homophobia
May 17, 2010Today marks the sixth anniversary of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). Just as Sexism Sells, so too does bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, the most recent example being media rumors over the sexual identity of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and the White House’s disappointing response to this “charge.” Betsy Wade - the lead plaintiff in the 1974 gender discrimination law suit against the New York Times – made note of the United States’s slow progress on sexuality in her WMC Exclusive, “The Marriage Thing” last week: “I am glad that Kagan is tough and used to problems, but no one deserves this one anymore.” Sadly the situation is often dire on the international level. Uganda’s current Bahati bill calls for gays to be executed in some cases, and new amendments for Lithuania’s Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information have been criticized by Amnesty International and the European Parliament for its discrimination and human rights abuses. As Nicola Duckworth from Amnesty International stated, “It is hard to believe that a member of the European Union should even be considering the adoption of such legislation.” Just two days ago in fact, a peaceful Pride march in Minsk was broken up by anti-riot police with severe brutality: Begun in 2003 as the National Day Against Homophobia by Canada’s Fondation Émergence, the Day has now expanded to the international level and to addressing transphobia in addition to homophobia. The Day’s May 17th date was selected to commemorate the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. (To hear the moving story of the American Psychiatric Association removing homosexuality from its manual on mental disorders in 1973, listen to This American Life’s “81 words”). This year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia focuses on “Speaking About Silence: Homophobia in the Sports World.” A pressing issue we wrote on in detail last month in “A Gentleman’s – And Lady’s – Game for Ruffians.” To take action on this day, visit the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia website.