The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) was created in 2004, to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals, Transgender, Intersex people and all other individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions and sex characteristics. The date of May 17th has been specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. This year’s theme, “TOGETHER RESISTING, SUPPORTING, HEALING” is more suitable than ever.
The official recognition from several States, International Institutions such as the European Parliament, and by Local Authorities, contributes to creating a fairer system aimed at transforming the heterosexist society into one more equalitarian and open to different sexual orientations, gender identities and sexual expressions. Most United Nations agencies, International NGOs and grassroots organizations also mark the 17th of May with specific raising awareness campaigns and events.
More than 30 years have passed since WHO’s decision came into force, but in many countries LGBTQI+ community continues to suffer bullying, discrimination, hate speech and violence, often with harmful or even deadly consequences. In 70 countries, there are laws that criminalise private, consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex and transgender people are subjected to punishments in at least 26 countries, consequently leaving millions of people around the world living in fear of freely expressing their selves. We remain alarmed at these severely discriminatory measures. It is our belief that nobody should be singled out for who they are or who they love. More tolerant and inclusive societies benefit everyone.
According to the EU commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the impact on the LGBTIQ+ community, some of whom require protection against domestic violence by homophobic parents or housemates or have difficult economic and employment situations that are deteriorating further due to the economic impact of the crisis”. In addition, the Vice-President of European Commission for Values and Transparency, Mrs Věra Jourová mentioned on a statement that no one should be scared to walk down the street holding hands with a loved person. The European Union is a union of equals and it will always stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.
On the occasion of last year’s IDAHOBIT, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou Lottides, stated that daily acts of discrimination against LGBTQI+ people are still a reality in Cyprus. Although in recent years, Cyprus has made significant progresses, there are still several steps outstanding.
“Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, as we believe in principles of equality, non-discrimination and equal opportunities for everyone. To this direction, HFC designs and implements projects that promote the above-mentioned principles such as HIT and INCLUDE. The HIT project, funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme of the European Commission, empowers youth to tackle hate speech behaviours; whereas INCLUDE, aims to the participation and inclusion of children for a better and more child-friendly case-handling procedure as well as enforcement of decisions in cross-border family disputes. Furthermore, HFC is also applying a non-formal education on children’s rights in schools, with subjects such as human rights and diversity.
Through our actions, we are committed to promote and protect the fundamental rights of each individual and especially children, the vulnerable among us, and we strive to build a more inclusive society that accords the same dignity, respect, and unalienable rights to all its citizens.
Let us come all together to resist, to support, to heal!