What is IDAHOTB?
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – known as IDAHOTB – is observed on May 17. It aims to raise global awareness of LGBTIQ+ rights violations and to encourage interest in LGBTIQ+ work being done globally to protect and advance those rights. It was founded by the IDAHO Committee and the day was chosen to commemorate the decision taken by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases in 1990.
What is the purpose?
The main purpose of IDAHOTB is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBTIQ+ communities globally. This day provides an opportunity to engage in dialogues centred on the promotion and protection of LGBTIQ+ rights. One of the stated goals of the 17th of May is to create an event that can be globally recognised and has a positive impact through different forms of advocacy by engaging with the community, policymakers, media, political parties etc.
IDAHOTB in South Africa
South Africa’s Constitution is celebrated internationally but LGBTIQ+ rights violations are on the increase. The South African LGBTIQ+ community continues to experience hate crimes, discrimination in the workplace and when accessing public services, and domestic violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. South Africa’s LGBTIQ+ community is losing faith in the justice system due to the low conviction rate of hate crime perpetrators and the lack of acceptance from society, which poses a risk to members of the community.
The Coronavirus outbreak has forced different countries across the globe to implement limitations that require citizens to be on lockdown. Members of LGBTIQ+ communities often face discrimination within their homes due to not being accepted, which might harm their mental and physical health. The need for an LGBTIQ+ shelter has also increased during this time; this has been a request from LGBTIQ+ civil society organisations and the matter has yet to be addressed by the Department of Social Development which is an injustice on its own. There is only one registered LGBTIQ+ shelter in South Africa which is inadequate for the rapidly increasing demand.
The 2020 theme is “Breaking the Silence”. The Love Not Hate team encourages all LGBTIQ+ persons to break the silence from within, dismantle barriers created by society to invalidate their true being, to accept themselves and to seek mental health support when necessary.
Allies of the LGBTIQ+ community are encouraged to break their silence by calling-out and educating those who are homophobic (intentionally and unintentionally), providing their support where possible and by vocally defending the LGBTIQ+ community where necessary.
South African society needs to engage on the issues of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression with the broader aim of understanding the diverse nature of human sexuality in order to create safer environments for all humans regardless of who they are, who they identify as, the pronoun they identify with or the person that they love.
Please contact the OUT-LGBT Well-being Love Not Hate Legal Clinic for advice on reporting LGBTIQ+ hate crimes, LGBTIQ+ human rights violations and LGBTIQ+ domestic violence: