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May 17th marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), a day to celebrate the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 1990 decision declassifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. This year’s theme, “No one left behind: equality, freedom, and justice for all,” is a stark reminder that despite progress, the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights is far from over.

IDAHOBIT serves as a vital platform to raise awareness about the violence and discrimination faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals globally. While significant strides have been made, data from the ILGA World Database paints a concerning picture.

Here’s a sobering reality check:

  • Criminalization of same-sex relationships: A whopping 62 UN member states still criminalize consensual same-sex relationships, either by law or in practice.
  • Restrictions on expression: 59 countries restrict freedom of expression regarding sexual and gender diversity issues, with a worrying trend of states enacting or debating such laws in the past two years.
  • Unequal protection: While 59 UN member states have laws protecting against hate crimes based on sexual orientation, only 38 extend this protection to gender identity, and even fewer (9 and 5 respectively) cover gender expression and sex characteristics.

Despite these grim statistics, there’s a flicker of hope.

  • Conversion therapy bans: 16 UN member states have banned so-called “conversion therapies,” aiming to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Protecting intersex youth: 9 countries have implemented nationwide restrictions on unnecessary medical interventions on intersex youth.
  • Legal recognition advancements: 17 UN member states allow legal gender recognition based on self-determination, and 35 have legalized same-sex marriage.

In a world witnessing a global pushback against democracy and human rights, the theme of IDAHOBIT this year is a powerful call for unity. It’s a reminder that achieving social justice requires leaving no one behind.

Equality, freedom, and justice are the pillars of a democratic society where everyone is valued and celebrated. Yet, the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – remains unfulfilled for LGBTQIA+ people around the world.

This IDAHOBIT, let’s stand in solidarity. Let’s continue fighting for a world where LGBTQIA+ individuals are free to live authentically, free from fear and discrimination. We must ensure that the progress made is not reversed and that the promise of equality extends to all.

Last Updated on May 17, 2024

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