Monday, May 16, 2011

Tuesday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia

Tomorrow marks the eighth annual International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia (IDAHO). Here's a little background from
The Fondation Émergence, based in Quebec, first spearheaded what it then designated as the "National Day Against Homophobia" on June 4, 2003. With the help of its partners, Fondation Émergence later strove to have this annual day take place on a pan-Canadian level. In the meantime, countries such as Belgium, France and the United Kingdom caught on to the idea and set up similar events. The next step consisted in steering the initiative towards the international scene. This effort was accomplished thanks to the involvement of a number of countries that worked to spread the idea, and proposed May 17 as the date that would be observed throughout the world to fight homophobia.
Okay, great idea, but what do we do? How do we get involved in breaking down barriers and fighting homophobia and transphobia? The website offers  the following suggestions for education and outreach (translated from French):

There are a number of ways people can contribute to the fight against homophobia. The International Day Against Homophobia is the perfect opportunity to make such efforts. There are a few simple ways to participate. For instance, we suggest that:
  • parents tell their children that, regardless of their sexual orientation, they will love them just the same;
  • teachers and instructors talk about homophobia in the classroom;
  • libraries clearly display books on homophobia
  • employers set up programs against homophobia in the workplace;
  • trade unions organize awareness activities in the workplace;
  • community groups heighten awareness among their constituencies;
  • broadcasters present special reports and documentaries on the subject;
  • newspapers publish reports and in-depth articles on the subject;
  • radio and television stations call upon artists and personalities to speak on the subject, and play songs about tolerance;
  • internet diffusers take out or refuse any homophobic content;
  • gays and lesbians who wish to do so “come out” of the closet;
  • legislators, governments, municipalities and school boards approve a motion in support of the International Day Against Homophobia, and make a commitment to fight homophobia; and that
  • people in general make a symbolic gesture in their entourage

For more information, visit
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