May 17th marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia, and Transphobia, also known as IDAHOBIT. Women Transforming Cities joins individuals and organizations across the world to recognize and mark the importance of this day - and every day in our commitment to ending homophobia, biphobia, intersexphobia and transphobia.
31 years ago today, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders - although it is important to note that transgender health issues were only removed from a list of mental and behavioural disorders in 2019 by the WHO. Since 2004, IDAHOBIT has been celebrated in approximately 130 countries. IDAHOBIT is an annual awareness campaign to combat the violence experienced by gender and sexual minorities, IDAHOBIT consists of a variety of demonstrations from vigil lighting to drag shows and city marches to educational workshops discussing human rights abuses. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most events are taking place virtually this year, with the theme “Together: Resisting, Supporting, and Healing.” This theme was chosen in an effort to recognize the impact the global pandemic has had on activism and marginalized communities over the past year and a half.
Although Canada is known globally for its progressive policymaking and has made strides towards increasing awareness and equity for gender and sexual minorities in recent years, this day is significant because it sheds light on the work that still needs to be done. In 2020, Statistics Canada reported that the rate of violence against gender and sexual minorities was three times the rate of violence experienced by the heteronormative community. Cities are safer spaces for some than others and are particularly unsafe for those of marginalized identities. Both physical and structural violence impacts the daily lives of transgender, gender-fluid, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, intersex, lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, asexual and Two-Spirit folks. Creating urban spaces where gender and sexual minorities feel safe is an important step towards ensuring greater equity.
The federal government cut 2SLGBTQ+ community funding by 66% in Budget2021. We support Enchante Network's call to reverse these cuts and invest $25M a year in 2SLGBTQ+ community, health and social services.
The experiences of many individuals are compounded when considering the intersections of racial, ethnic, and abled privilege and oppression, among others. Recognizing intersectionality, a concept coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, is paramount in combatting prejudice and discrimination. It is also extremely important to recognize that although gender and sexual minorities are targeted by violence and oppression, they are not helpless victims but rather strong individuals of agency, power, and wisdom.
Today is not only a day to amplify the voices of those who are too often silenced by homonormativity and cisnormativity, nor is it a day to learn about what genuine solidarity means by those who do not belong to the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, but it is a day to celebrate, embrace, and publicly acknowledge the beauty and power of diversity.
We recommend the following resources are great starting points to learn more about IDAHOBIT day and how to be an ally: