… But transphobia is main focus of IDAHO 2009
Among the initiatives for International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17 in the United Kingdom will be a bid to stage the largest mass hand-holding event in the world and a major focus on transphobia.
In conjunction with IDAHO UK, campaigner David Watkins has formed a community-interest group called ‘A Day in Hand’ which has already arranged events in London and aims to increase public consciousness of same sex couples in everyday life.
“LGBT people in the UK have won many important victories with our human rights, Said Mr. Watkins.
“But out there, in everyday life, on Britain’s streets, where do we see the realities of our lives and loves?”
A highly successful Facebook group has been in existence for some time and a new website will be launched next week.
Campaigners in over 50 countries are gearing up to mark the 5th International Day against Homophobia on Sunday May 17.
The IDAHO committee, in conjunction with Transgender Europe and the South African group Gender DynamiX, have launched an international appeal to “reject transphobia and respect gender identity” – and there is an on-line petition to sign on the IDAHO UK Website (see below).
“In the UK, we will focus on human rights and violations against trans people around the world, and work with other campaigners to publicise and celebrate the services which do exist, and identify the many gaps in service provision,” said Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK co-ordinator.
Welcoming the IDAHO campaign is Professor Stephen Whittle, the founder and vice president of Press for Change who, three years ago, was awarded an OBE for his outstanding and long term contribution to the development of social and legal recognition for transsexual people over the course of more than 30 years.
“Press for Change welcomes the IDAHO campaign and we will be working closely with them, he said.
While campaigners at home refuse to take their rights for granted, there is a focus on LGBT rights abroad.
This is reflected in activities arranged for IDAHO day. Campaigners from the CWU (Communications Workers Union) will be handing a letter of protest to the Indian Embassy about recent legislation affecting the rights of LGBT people in that country. While on May 16 – at the Faith, Human Rights, Homophobia and Transphobia Conference – an award will be given by the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network to recognise the achievements of LABRYS, a LGBT organisation in Kyrgyzstan.
On May 15, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) hosts a “European Elections Question Time”, where Labour MEP, Mary Honeyball, Lib Dem Candidate, Jonathan Fryer, and Green MEP, Jean Lambert will debate human rights and LGBT Rights in Europe.
There will be a presentation from therapists and gay activists working in Serbia, Colombia and Latvia on Friday 15 May at a conference organised by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and “Pink Therapy”.
On Monday May 18, the Lord Mayor of Bradford is hosting the first civic reception of the LGB Community in Civic Hall.
In nearby Sheffield, there will be a high profile public event to mark IDAHO which will include “a minute’s noise against prejudice” and a gay choir, “Out Aloud”
In the South East, Gay Surrey will host a major event for IDAHO including speeches and an “Equality Matters” Ceremony.
And on the eve of IDAHO day, Norwich will preview their first ever Pride, at an event consisting of live music and comedy.
“There are 8 weeks to go and we know that many more events are being planned for IDAHO,” said Mr. Leonard.
“Last December an important declaration against world homophobia and gender identity discrimination was made at the General Assembly of the United Nations,” he pointed out.
“IDAHO campaigners played an important part in that historic development. So the message is clear: organise or contribute to an IDAHO event and take your place in LGBT History.”