IDAHOBLIT (International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia) is an awareness day created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTQ+ people.
The 17th of May is chosen to mark the decision made in 1990 when the World Health Organisation’s declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. That’s 1990. Within my lifetime.
But then again, 32 years later, you only have to look at headline news or daily social feeds to understand why IDAHOBLIT is still needed.
With the government’s u-turn on the Conversion Therapy Ban for Trans individuals and J.K. Rowling’s constant involvement in very public Transphobia (she isn’t the only one by the way), my own social feeds are a constant stream of vitriol that continues to anger me.
Which is why it’s very pertinent that the theme for 2022 is “Our bodies, Our rights, Our choice”.
Not only does this theme nod towards the rights we who identify as LGBTQI+ have to live our live, but also demanding to be free from physical violence, from conversion so-called “therapies” to forced sterilisation of Trans and Intersex people. A theme that reminds us that many of us across the world live LGBTQI-phobias in their very flesh every day.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the addition of a ‘L from previous years to explicitly mark lesbophobia. It’s an amendment that I will admit has caused some self-reflection putting this piece together.
I always introduce myself as a gay female – I very rarely use the word “lesbian”, and I honestly struggle to tell anyone why. I’ve been very lucky that I have only ever experienced small amounts of discrimination, mainly the unfortunately typical and expected jeers in the street when I’m with my wife. It’s something I’ve learnt to shrug off.
Which probably isn’t okay right?
But the addition of an explicit reference to Lesbophobia reminds me that so much of the language we use is gendered (i.e homosexuality) and the impact that can have on people.
We should use IDAHOBLIT to serve as a reminder that we can all, unknowingly, be causing discomfort to those who identify anywhere on the LGBTQI+ spectrum. I have always been incredibly honoured to serve as &Proud chair at dentsu, and I’m very proud of my sexuality, but I check myself constantly. I am learning constantly. It’s okay to admit you don’t know all the answers. It’s okay to ask questions.
How can you help on IDAHOBLIT 2022?
1. Share and generate awareness of the prevalence of Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia. Here are a few stats you can use:
- The number of lesbian, gay and bi people who have experienced a hate crime or incident in the last year has increased from 9% to 16%
- Less bi people (22%) are out at work then lesbian and gay people (57%), and bi people most frequently have mental health problems compared to other sexual orientations, partly due to a kind of biphobia called bi-erasure.
- There has been a worrying increase in transphobia in recent years: More recent research from Galop found that in 2020 four in five trans people had experienced a hate crime in the previous 12 months
2. Actively support an LGBTQI+ organisation or campaign you can support? Here’s a few!
- Stonewall’s Ban Conversion Therapy Campaign – use the website tool to write to your MP
- The Outside Project – the UK’s only LGBTQI+ homeless shelter, The Outside Project is also a refuge and community centre, based in London
- akt – UK wide LGBTQI+ youth homelessness charity
- Galop – the UK’s only specialist LGBTQI+ anti-violence charity
- Opening Doors London – connecting LGBTQI+ people over 50
- Stonewall Housing – providing support, advice and accommodation for the LGBTQI+ community
- Mermaids – supporting the parents of trans children
- Gendered Intelligence – working to raise awareness about trans identities and experiences
- We Exist – raising money for lifesaving healthcare for trans people
- UK Black Pride – who do a lot more than just an annual event in London
- Mind – although they aren’t an LGBTQI+ specific charity, they do have a lot of relevant information on LGBTQI+ mental health
There are also some great global organisations:
- The Kaleidoscope Trust – fight for the human rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world
- Rainbow Railroad – provide lifesaving support for refugees attempting to flee persecution due to their LGBTQI+ identity
3. BE AN ACTIVE ALLY.
If you are working with someone who identifies as LGBTQI+, they may be experiencing, or have experienced discrimination or bullying. Be their ally. Always.
For more information, please read our Coming Out Guide.
Libby Darley, Head of Planning at iProspect and Co-Chair of &Proud