Love Makes a Family: IDAHOT 2017

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). It is a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities. IDAHOT was founded in 2004 to draw attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people around the world.

This year IDAHOT partners with International Family Equality Day to raise awareness and respect for LGBTI families with the theme “Love Makes a Family.”

The date of May 17 was chosen for IDAHOT because this is the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. We look at sexual orientation and gender identity so differently now and seek to respect their fluid nature rather than the previously understood binary notion. This respect for human diversity with regard to sexuality and gender reflects the core values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

IDAHOT is celebrated in over 130 countries including 37 countries where same-sex relationships are still illegal. One of the persistent myths that must be addressed is the claim that homosexuality or being LGBTI is a product or an import from the West. An honest analysis of one’s cultural history, an informed understanding of sexuality and gender, and common sense tell us that LGBTI people and their families are a natural part of the cultural fabric and history of every country.

The United Nation’s Free and Equal Campaign and the researchers at the Burke Center for International Relations at UCLA have created this educational resource to refute the claim that homosexuality or being LGBTI is a Western product.

We encourage you to share this educational resource within your social networks and on social media. The myth that being LGBTI is “from the West” invalidates the existence and human dignity of LGBTI in their country of origin. This myth contributes to stigma, discrimination and violence. So, dispelling this myth will help to create respect and safe places for LGBTI people and their families within their own communities, cultures and countries.

We hope you will participate in IDAHOT this year in person, through social media, or in solidarity. Here is the list of activities, programs and celebrations across the world.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) LGBTI rights are human rights. Every person has the right to create the family of their own choice. Love makes a family.

(The vibrant banner artwork was created by graphic designers Annakarina Cabello  and Bergin Ortiz from Venezuela. You may download the full posters from the IDAHOT website).