The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia[1][2] (IDAHOBIT) is observed on May 17[1] and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. By 2016 the commemorations had taken place in over 130 countries.[3]

The founders of the International Day Against Homophobia, as it was originally known, established the IDAHO Committee to coordinate grass-roots actions in different countries, to promote the day and to lobby for official recognition on May 17. That date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.[4]


Louis-Georges Tin, founder of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia[5]

The day, as a concept, was conceived in 2004. A year-long campaign culminated in the first International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, 2005. 24,000 individuals as well as organizations such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians signed an appeal to support the "IDAHO initiative". Activities for the day took place in many countries, including the first LGBT events ever to take place in the Congo, China, and Bulgaria.[6] In the UK, the campaign was coordinated by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA).[7]

The date of May 17 was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.[8]

In 2009, transphobia was added to the name of the campaign, and activities that year focused primarily on transphobia (violence and discrimination against transgender people). A new petition was launched in cooperation with LGBT organizations in 2009, and it was supported by more than 300 NGOs from 75 countries, as well as three Nobel Prize winners (Elfriede Jelinek, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, and Luc Montagnier). On the eve of May 17, 2009, France became the first country in the world to officially remove transgender issues from its list of mental illnesses.[9][10]

Frenchman Louis-Georges Tin was founder of the day, and acted as its Committee Chairperson until his resignation in September 2013. He was succeeded by internationally renowned Venezuelan trans rights activist, lawyer and law professor Tamara Adrián, who became one of the first trans legislators in Latin America in 2015.[11]

Louis-Georges Tin and two other Committee members started a hunger-strike in June 2012 to urge the French president Hollande to introduce a UN resolution decriminalising homosexuality.[12]

Biphobia was added to the name of the campaign in 2015.[13]

The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 that legalised same-sex marriage in Taiwan was passed on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in 2019,[14] with the law coming into effect on 24 May 2019.[15]

Goals and activities

The main purpose of the May 17 mobilisations is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society.

One of the stated goals of May 17 is to create an event that can be visible at a global level without needing to conform to a specific type of action.[16] This decentralized approach is needed due to the diversity of social, religious, cultural, and political contexts in which rights violations occur. As such, this leads to a variety of events and approaches towards celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia.

Despite the three principal issues mentioned in the name of the celebration, this day is widely regarded as an initiative that is "working to advance the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics."[17] This allows for a widespread amalgamation of different self-identified expressions coming together to share pride in oneself, happiness, and love with others as participants take charge against different rampant forms of hate in the world.  

May 17 around the world

La Moneda Palace illuminated in LGBT flag for 2017 IDAHO

The day is particularly strong in Europe and Latin America, where it is commemorated with public events in almost all countries.[18] May 17 is also marked in multiple countries in all world regions including, in 2013, 32 of the 76 countries in the world[19] where same-sex relationships are criminalised.[18] In Sweden, government bodies have observed the day.[20][21]

Common actions include large-scale street marches, parades and festivals. In Cuba, for example, Mariela Castro has led out a huge street parade in honor of May 17 for the past three years. In Chile in 2013, 50,000 people took to the streets to mark May 17, and the VIII Santiago Equality march.[22]

Arts and culture-based events are also common. For example, Bangladeshi activists organised the music festival "Love Music Hate Homophobia" in 2013.[23] Albanian LGBT activists have, in 2012 and 2013 been organising an annual Bike (P) Ride for May 17 through the streets of the capital Tirana.[24] In 2013, the day's Committee called for international actions for a Global Rainbow Flashmob[25] to mark May 17. Activists in 100 cities, in 50 countries participated with diverse public events spanning coloured balloon releases, dance flashmobs, musical events, and performance and street art.[26]

On May 17, 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage.[27]

In Nepal, this day is celebrated as International Day Against Queer / MOGAI -phobia' as well as IDAHOT.[28][29][30][31]

Official recognition

National Congress of Brazil illuminated with rainbow colors in 2022 IDAHOTIB[32]

In 2003 the Canadian organization Fondation Émergence instituted a similar event, the National Day Against Homophobia, which was held on June 1 in Québec. In 2006, they changed the date to May 17, in order to join the international movement.[33]

In 2006, The Declaration of Montreal was created and adopted by the 2006 World Outgames. The Declaration demanded that the United Nations and all states recognize May 17 as the International Day Against Homophobia.[34]

In 2007, in Aosta Valley (Italy), the government approved the support for the IDAHOT.[35]

In 2010, Lula, then president of Brazil, signed an act that instituted May 17 as the National Day Against Homophobia in his country.[36][37]

The day is also officially recognized by the EU Parliament, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the UK, Mexico, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and Venezuela. It is also recognized by numerous local authorities, such as the province of Quebec or the city of Buenos Aires.[38]

In 2012, the city of Liverpool, England, created a pioneering programme of events in association with the organisation Homotopia, called IDAHO 50. The event was supported by 50 leading organisations based in Liverpool.[39][40][41][42]

On March 21, 2014, Mexico declared, by Presidential Decree, May 17 as the National Day Against Homophobia.[43]

Venezuela's National Assembly (AN) officially recognized May 17 as the Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 12, 2016.[44] AN Deputy Tamara Adrian, also international Chairwoman of the IDAHO Committee, hailed the legislative act as a "sign of change" in a Venezuela where "everyone has equal rights and opportunities".[45]

In several other countries (e.g. Argentina, Bolivia, Australia, and Croatia), national civil society coalitions have called upon their authorities to have May 17 officially recognized.[46][47][48]

As it stands as of May 17, 2021, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia has been officially recognized and commemorated by over 130 different countries across the globe.[49]


Joe Biden expressing his support of the International day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.

As of 2019, 69 countries criminalize same-sex relationships.[50] Also, in 26 countries,[50] transgender individuals are subjected to punishments, and they are disproportionately at risk of violence across the globe. IDAHOBIT is frequently used as a platform for organizing initiatives to advance the fight for the rights of LGBT+ groups in many countries, even in those (like Uganda) in which homosexuality is criminalized.[51]

In 2021, United States president Joe Biden used IDAHOBIT to highlight efforts to alleviate LGBTQIA+ discrimination and to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act.[52] The same day, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, spoke of creating the first federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan and passing "legislation to fully protect gender identity and expression".[53]

See also


  1. ^ a b "International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia". IDAHO Committee. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  2. ^ "All Events, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". UNESCO. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Summary Report 2016" (PDF). IDAHO Committee. 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  4. ^ "May 17th is the Intl Day Against Homophobia". Archived from the original on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  5. ^ "International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia". United States Embassy of London. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  6. ^ Kwok, Diana K.; Wu, Joseph (3 September 2015). "Chinese attitudes towards sexual minorities in Hong Kong: Implications for mental health". International Review of Psychiatry. 27 (5): 444–454. doi:10.3109/09540261.2015.1083950. PMID 26569635. S2CID 22696813.
  7. ^ "[International Day Against Homophobia]". 2005-05-24. Archived from the original on 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  8. ^ "What is May 17?". Archived from the original on 2020-05-12. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Mobilisation mondiale contre la pénalisation de l'homosexualité – Pla…". 17 May 2009. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Venezuela Elects First Transgender Congresswoman in the Americas". OUT. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  12. ^ IDAHO founder begins hunger strike for UN resolution on decriminalising homosexuality Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine retrieved 29 June 2012
  13. ^ "IDAHOT | Metropolitan Community Churches". Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  14. ^ "Taiwan legalises same-sex marriage in first for Asia". Pink News. 17 May 2019. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  15. ^ Hollingsworth, Julia (17 May 2019). "Taiwan passes same-sex marriage bill, becoming first in Asia to do so". CNN. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  16. ^ "MAY 17 2013 IN AUSTRALIA – EVENTS LISTINGS". IDAHO Committee. Archived from the original on 11 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  17. ^ "May 17 2021: A Day to Remember". 2021-05-19. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  18. ^ a b "REPORTS: Idaho – English". Annual Report 2013. IDAHO Committee. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  19. ^ "2010 Report on State Sponsored Homophobia Throughout the World". ILGA. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  20. ^ Utrikesdepartementet
  21. ^ Internationella dagen mot homo-, bi- och transfobi
  22. ^ "More than 50,000 attend Chilean LGBT rights march". Washington Blade. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
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  30. ^ "International Day Against Queer / MOGAI -phobia #IDaQuMoB". All events / Queer Youth Group. Archived from the original on 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  31. ^ "Online #IDaQuMoB". All events / Queer Youth Group. Archived from the original on 2020-02-15. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  32. ^ "Congresso tem projeção em homenagem à bandeira LGBTQIA+". Poder360 (in Brazilian Portuguese). 2022-05-17. Retrieved 2022-05-19.
  33. ^ "Anti-Homophobia Day Marked In Windsor". The Windsor Star. The Windsor Star. 2010-05-17. Archived from the original on June 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
  34. ^ "Declaration of Montreal" (PDF). International Conference on LGBT Human Rights. July 29, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  35. ^ "Sito ufficiale della Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta". Archived from the original on 2016-05-08. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  36. ^ "It is Official! May 17th is the National Day Against Homophobia in Brazil". Archived from the original on July 7, 2010.
  37. ^ "Brazil's President Lula decrees National Day Against Homophobia". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  38. ^ "OFFICIAL RECOGNITION". IDAHO Committee. Archived from the original on 10 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  39. ^ Alan Weston (15 May 2012). "Liverpool supports IDAHO – the international day of action against homophobia". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  40. ^ "17th May 2012 – The Inaugural Launch of Idaho 50". Liverpool Learning Disability. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  41. ^ Alan Weston (15 May 2012). "Flying the flag for gay rights; Liverpool is the first city in the world to mark day of action, as Alan Weston discovers". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  42. ^ "Link" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-02.
  43. ^ "Presidency of the Republic – Government". Presidencia de México. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  44. ^ "Parlamento aprueba conmemorar el 17 de mayo en Venezuela como Día contra la homofobia, transfobia y bifobia". NTN24 (in Spanish). 12 May 2016. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  45. ^ "Parlamento venezolano acuerda el 17 de mayo como Día Contra la Homofobia". El Nuevo Diario (in Spanish). 12 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  47. ^ Encarnación, Omar G. (1 December 2013). "International Influence, Domestic Activism, and Gay Rights in Argentina". Political Science Quarterly. 128 (4): 687–716. doi:10.1002/polq.12138. JSTOR 43828398.
  48. ^ Donovan, Waine (2012). "Help end homophobia in the workplace". Education. 93 (4): 14.
  49. ^ "USAID Commemorates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia | Statement by Administrator Samantha Power | U.S. Agency for International Development". 2021-05-17. Archived from the original on 2021-05-17. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  50. ^ a b "International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia". UNDP. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  51. ^ "A Global Report Card on LGBTQ+ Rights for IDAHOBIT". 2020-05-17. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  52. ^ "Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia". The White House. 2021-05-17. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  53. ^ "Statement by the Prime Minister on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia". Prime Minister of Canada. 2021-05-16. Retrieved 2021-10-19.

External links