Tomorrow (May 17) is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a day marked annually to draw attention to the violence and discrimination faced by LGBTQ people around the world. Now in its 10th year, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which has the backing of the United Nations, is an international event, with events taking place in more than 120 countries.
May 17 is an important date — and one that is not at all coincidental. That's the date in 1990 that the World Health Organization officially declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The International Day Against Homphobia and Transphobia is not a centralized campaign, movement or organization. Rather, it bills itself as a "moment" — and urges people in all countries to take action to end discrimination against all people. That action can take many different forms, whether it's rallies, education, or just tweeting in support.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a statement this week in support, saying, "In all parts of the world today, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experience discrimination in every aspect of daily life… We have a long road ahead. It will not be easy. But we must ask ourselves: Do we want to live in a world where love is targeted or where it is celebrated; where people live in fear or in dignity?”
Currently, there are more than 80 countries — that's a population of more than 2.7 billion people — where being gay is a crime.
The Guardian has an incredible, extensive look at the rights of LGBTQ people around the world. If you check out their interactive infographic here, you can see the breakdown of exactly what rights people have around the world, broken down by country and by category (marriage, adoption, consensual sex, etc.). And you can find our list of all the countries where same-sex marriage is currently legal right here.
In Canada, there are a variety of events taking place tomorrow, from Vancouver, where the Rainbow Refugee Committee is holding a breakfast conversation on what it means to be LGBTQ in Canada, to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where a rally will be held at the Wentworth Park Bandshell at 2 p.m. You can see a full list here.
More than anything, though, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is about sparking a meaningful international discussion about discrimination. A simple tweet or social media post is also a good form of action.
Over the years, homophobia and transphobia has been a recurring topic on the show. George has talked to influential people about their experiences coming out and being part of the LGBTQ community. Here are a few of those interviews: