One of the most significant days in the international LGBTIQ+ calendar is 17 May. Each year, on this day, the LGBTIQ+ community around the world celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Interphobia and Transphobia – IDAHOBIT.
It was on this day in 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the classification of diseases and health problems.
That was an enormous step.
For those in the LGBTIQ+ community who had been told all their lives by the rest of society that they were sick, that they ‘needed to get that seen to’, that they ought to ‘sort themselves out, that they needed to get over it and live a ‘normal life, that they just needed to find ‘the one and settle down and get married like the rest of society, finally, they had vindication that they weren’t sick; that being LGBTIQ+ wasn’t an illness; it wasn’t a health problem looking to be solved and for them to get healed or fixed or made better.
For decades, some sections in society have taken the strong view that being LGBTIQ+ is an illness or a health problem – and have used that view as the basis to use various psychological or spiritual procedures to try to change LGBTIQ+ people to straight. Those procedures were horrific and caused long-term mental health problems to the LGBTIQ+ individuals concerned. Collectively, those procedures were called Gay Conversion Therapy. It was only in February 2021 that the Victorian Government voted to criminalize gay conversion therapy. At the time of writing, it remains the lawful practice in NSW.
Each year, on 17th May, the LGBTIQ+ community around the world celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Interphobia and Transphobia – IDAHOBIT.
– Bronte Price
And so, today, on IDAHOBIT, we remember those who have gone before us who have fought for the end to homophobia, biphobia, Interphobia, and transphobia.
Without their efforts, many of us would continue to be subjected to endless harassment and worse. And, on this day, we also remember those who continue to live under regimes where institutionalized and individual homophobia, biphobia, Interphobia, and transphobia continue to make their lives hell. We wish, for those people, substantial progress towards equal human rights, by governments, workplaces, and the general population.