May 17: Become an LGBTIQ rights ally

May 17, 2018

Many people around Australia and the world are marking May 17 with acts of recognition and action that highlight the plight of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, other sexuality or gender identity (LGBTIQ).

The day is now known as IDAHOT (International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia), or IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia) and marks the day that homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.

IDAHOT aims to coordinate events that raise awareness of LGBTIQ rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBTIQ rights work worldwide. This year the theme is Alliances for Solidarity.

Putting the focus of the day on solidarity and alliances creates a valuable opportunity for people to reach out to current IDAHOT partners to reinforce the bond, to reach out to new people to raise awareness of our commonalities, and to engage in collective action.

In Australia, Melbourne based youth organisation Minus 18 has coordinated a nationwide event for people to wear rainbow to show their solidary and support of LGBTIQ people. The event encourages people to wear rainbows both physically and online via social media. Minus 18 IDAHOT website has a range of social media images that people can choose to share online, including a profile changer! The organisation also has toolkits available for people wanting to take action in their school and/or workplace.

IDAHOT Day website also has a range of resources available for people to use, including posters and social media images also available.

There are other things that people can do to recognise IDAHOT and increase knowledge of the day and LGBTIQ people. These include:

  • promoting the day online via social media
  • putting up posters that recognise IDAHOT/IDAHOBIT
  • challenging homophobic, biphobic, intersexist, and transphobic language and behaviour
  • educating yourself about the experiences of LGBTIQ people by reading up and/or attending professional development and training (Federation’s LGBTIQ webpages have information on research and training)
  • raising LGBTIQ inclusivity in workplace meetings and ensuring LGBTIQ perspectives are included in the curriculum
  • supporting programs and events that recognise LGBTIQ people and celebrate LGBTIQ diversity
  • donating to, or volunteering to assist, organisations that support LGBTIQ people.