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Social Issues
Fight Hate: It’s The International Day Against Homophobia
May 17, 2013
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Photo: Aswat Magazine

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO or IDAHOBIT for short), and people are coming together across the globe to celebrate and push for an end to discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

The event is coordinated by the IDAHOBIT Committee, which was founded by Louis-George Tin in 2004. The first event took place on May 17, 2005.

That year, 24,000 individuals and organizations signed on to a message of support for the initiative.

In 2013, countless people and groups around the world are showing their support in creative ways.

Below, we've got a roundup of a few anti-homophobia initiatives from across the globe. There are tons of other events and demonstrations taking place: check out DayAgainstHomophobia.org to read more stories, and to find out what's going on in your part of the world.

Online Campaign Promotes 'Love For All' In The Arab World

Online magazine Aswat is calling on Arab citizens to speak out against homophobia with an online campaign called 'Love For All'.

The image at the top of this post comes from Aswat's Facebook page, where the magazine has uploaded images and messages from users.

The sign below reads: "Gay or not gay, what does that change for you?"

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Photo: Aswat Magazine

And this user writes, "homophobia does not have a religion. I am Muslim and I am against homophobia."

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Photo: Aswat Magazine

This note offers a powerful explanation for why the writer became skilled in multiple languages: "If I weren't gay, I wouldn't have learned four languages. I needed these languages after being rejected by my society. I had to learn three languages to communicate with people outside of my society. My homosexuality is responsible for 90 per cent of my knowledge and culture."

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Photo: Aswat Magazine

For more on the campaign, which will run throughout the month of May, visit Al Jazeera and the Aswat Twitter and Facebook pages.

Canada's Day Against Homophobia 2013 Theme
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In Canada, the theme of this year's Day is "Fight the Homophobia Web Virus." The Fondation Émergence Homophobia Day website explains:

"Homophobia is becoming increasingly present on the Web and in social media. The anonymity of the Internet facilitates the spread of abusive comments and cyberhomophobia that could have serious consequences."

Check out this piece about homophobic language on Twitter for more info.

Students In Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Show Their True Colours
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Photo: Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post

Students at Bridgeport Elementary School in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia used their clothing to send a message ahead of IDAHOBIT: they held a Rainbow Day, which was organized by the school's Gay Straight Alliance.

Each class at the school was assigned a colour to wear for the day, and the students then arranged themselves into a rainbow for the photo above, mirroring the rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBTQ pride.

Guidance counsellor Leigha Gouthro told the Cape Breton Post that the event was all about "the focus on acceptance for all and how fortunate we are to be Canadians and to be proud of ourselves for what we are and who we are."

Australian Football League Players Support #IDAHO

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The Australian Football League Players Association has launched a campaign called #Footy4IDAHO, which focuses on ending the use of homophobic language.

Players have recorded a video about the campaign, and the pledge they've taken to stamp out homophobic language and "give homophobia the boot."

Here's the pledge they're asking fans and players alike to make on social media:

"I'm taking the pledge to never use homophobic language. Think before you speak, it's time to stop shirking the issue." #FOOTY4IDAHO

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There's lots more about the campaign, along with pledges on the Players' Facebook page.

Churches In Italy Organize Prayers For The Victims Of Homophobia

For the seventh year running, religious Italians are celebrating IDAHOBIT by bringing church members of all faiths together to pray for gay, bi, trans and intersex people who have died or lived in fear because of their sexuality, Gay Star News reports.

This year, for the first time, some Catholic churches will host events, as both LGBTQ Christians and their supporters light candles and join in prayer, walking from church to church in their communities.

The video above was created by Giovanni Capizzi - in the description on YouTube, he says that the planned prayer vigils are intended both to remember victims of homophobia, and "to smash in, through our testimony, the wall of silence and embarrassment that usually prevails in our churches and our society about this heavy problem."

Portland Timbers Fans Raise Their Flags Against Homophobia
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Photo: Don Ryan/AP

Here's a term you may not know: Tifo. It's the word for any choreographed action by soccer fans, usually to support their team (everyone raising cards at the same time, for instance).

Well, at a Portland Timbers match in Oregon on Sunday, fans choreographed something a little different: they created a rainbow flag, and raised some messages of solidarity to celebrate IDAHOBIT in advance, USA Today reports.

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Photo: Don Ryan/AP

It's a great demonstration of support - and maybe it helped team spirit, too. The Timbers took down Chivas USA 3-0.

50,000 March In Santiago, Chile
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A marcher at an earlier demonstration in Santiago, held September 29, 2012 (Photo: Getty)

On Saturday, an estimated 50,000 people marched in the streets of Santiago, Chile to defend gay and lesbian rights.

A lot of prominent Chileans took part, including folk singer Camila Moreno, presidential candidates Andrés Velasco, Tomás Jocelyn-Holt, Marco Enríquez-Ominami and Marcel Claude, and the European Union's ambassador to Chile, Rafael Dochao.

Current president Sebastián Piñera has drafted a proposed bill that would extend civil unions to same-sex couples in Chile, but he has yet to formally introduce it.

The issue of same-sex rights has been on the agenda in the country over the past year: last July, the president signed an LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill into law, the Washington Blade reports, after Daniel Zamudio, a gay man, was allegedly murdered by a group of neo-Nazis.

"The government and the National Congress should take note of these massive mobilizations that demonstrate time and time again that the majority of this country supports full equality of rights for sexual minorities," Rolando Jiménez, president of a Chilean LGBTQ advocacy group, said.

Free Concert In Toronto To Kick Off The 2013 GSA Summit
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Canada's first national Gay Straight Alliance summit runs from today to May 20th, and it all kicks off with a free live concert at Nathan Phillips Square.

The Cliks and Molly Thomason will be performing, and the event starts at 8pm.

For more about the summit, visit the OUTSHINE 2013 National GSA Summit site.

Related:

#Yuck: Homophobic Language Is Very Popular On Twitter

Homophobia In Canadian Schools

Overcoming Homophobia In Hip-Hop; New Track Called 'Same Love' Stands Up For Gay Rights & Equality For Everyone

The NHL & NHLPA Are Partnering With 'You Can Play' To Fight Homophobia

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