Today – the 17th of May – is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia. Or, if you’re a cool cat like us, it’s IDAHOBIT!
From the horse’s mouth itself (aka idahobit.org.au), IDAHOBIT, “celebrates LGBTQIA+ people globally, and raises awareness for the work still needed to combat discrimination”
But why is it falling on a random Monday in May? Because 31 years ago – on the 17th of May 1990 – the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, and we think that’s a pretty special day to celebrate.
IDAHOBIT is a day that denounces LGBTQIA+ discrimination in all its forms. As the name suggests, the day seeks to bring light to all forms of Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia.
With over 75% of LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing some form of discrimination, and a whopping 77% of trans and gender diverse youth having been discriminated against in the past 12 months, IDAHOBIT is so important for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Homophobia can include things like name-calling, rumours and abusive words, or abusive threats, or physical or sexual violence. Biphobia is much the same, but can even include erasing the identity of a bisexual person (like saying that their bisexuality is ‘just a phase’, or telling them to ‘pick a side’).
Interphobia and Transphobia are a little different, however, because they don’t focus on who a person is attracted to – they focus on the physical, hormonal or genetic features of a person. Most disturbingly, intersex and transgender people can exclusion or mistreatment in medical services in a way that is not commonly experienced by homosexuals or bisexuals.
The IDAHOBIT website explains it best by saying that, “Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia can occur online, face to face and affect everyone by creating spaces where people are unsafe and like they can’t be themselves. Sexuality and gender identity or intersex status aren’t always visible, so creating a culture where everyone feels safe, even if there aren’t any visible LGBTQIA+ people is even more important.”
So if you want to celebrate this momentous day, there are many, many ways to do so: you can celebrate at school, at uni, at work, at home, or with mates.
If you’re celebrating from school or uni, IDAHOBIT strictly enforces (aka suggests) to turn the campus rainbow, run a rainbow event, start a project to support sexual and gender diversity, take the pledge to support the LGBTQIA+ community, shout it proud with the hashtag #IDAHOBIT, or run a class on LGBTQIA+ issues!
If you’re celebrating in the workplace, you can, again, turn the workplace rainbow, run a rainbow event, start a project that supports sexual and gender diversity in the workplace, seek support from the CEO, shout it proud with the hashtag #IDAHOBIT, and, if possible, donate to the Minus18 Foundation.
At home, and with your bestest judies, You can celebrate in person by hosting a rainbow dinner party, after work drinks, picnic, or game or movie night or, if distance and COVID prove to be a bit of an issue, you can always gather online and do something groovy like a digital trivia night.
Oh and one last thing – and this is the most important part of all – if you’re partaking in an event to celebrate IDAHOBIT you MUST (and I repeat MUST) be wearing rainbow. Sorry besties, I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them. And if you’ve got some spare change lying around, consider donating to the Minus18 Foundation, because they do incredible work to keep LGBTQIA+ youth in Australia alive and well.
If you’re keen on getting in on the action, head to idahobit.org.au for some ideas on what you can do, or jump online and look for events in your area that you can tag along to. IDAHOBIT events are safe spaces for all – I promise we don’t bite!