May 17 - International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17 - International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

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The International Day against Homophobia is a fairly new holiday. It is hard to believe that homosexuality belonged to the International Classification of Diseases and was excluded from the list of mental disorders by the General Assembly of the WHO only on May 17, 1990. So the date of May 17 was chosen to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

For many years homophobia was a peculiar norm of behavior. Homosexuals were considered as outcasts of society, who faced contempt and aggression in all manifestations of life. In the 20th century homosexuals were oppressed in many countries, from the deportation of gays into concentration camps in Nazi Germany to the persecution of gays in the USSR and the United States.

In 2003, in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, the Fondation Emergence instituted and held the National Day against Homophobia in June. Following this initiative, in August 2004, a French lecturer and campaigner for the rights of blacks, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, Louis-Georges Tin appealed to the United Nations and all states with a petition "For the International Day Against Homophobia" and put forward a proposal to celebrate this day on a global scale. In 2006, the European Parliament hosted a seminar on the topic of the International Day against Homophobia, at which President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell made a statement on the recognition of the international day. Before 2009, the International Day against Homophobia was officially recognized in the UK, France, Mexico, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Luxembourg.

The main objective of the International Day against Homophobia is to bring public attention to the problems of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, especially in countries where the issue of sexuality is still prohibited and sexual minorities are discriminated against. It is necessary to show to all that representatives of sexual minorities are full members of society, who make the same contribution to the general development of the state as well as others. This day is a kind of reminder of the cruelty of people who, during the Nazi regimes, sent gays to concentration camps, persecuted them and strongly oppressed them. Therefore, with the popularization of this holiday, there must come an understanding that the rights of sexual minorities must be respected in any modern society.

Unfortunately, so far discrimination and physical harassment against representatives of sexual minorities are not uncommon today. For example, homosexuality is prohibited by law in eighty countries (Algeria, Lebanon, Kuwait and others). In many countries, it is punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years (Nigeria, Libya, Syria, Malaysia, Jamaica, and others); sometimes the law provides for life imprisonment (Guyana, Uganda); and in dozens of countries homosexuals are executed (Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others). Even in the most tolerant countries, such as Brazil, squadrons of death and skinheads are terrorizing the cities: 1,960 murders of homosexuals on signs of hatred were officially registered from 1980 to 2000.

In Ukraine, the first rallies dedicated to the International Day against Homophobia took place on May 17, 2005. Then, at the initiative of the Regional Information and Human Rights Center for Gays and Lesbians "Our World" under the slogan "Rights of Gays Are Also Human Rights," a picket of the Economics and Law Technical College at the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management took place in Kyiv. The reason for this was the expulsion from this educational institution of a homosexual student in the autumn of 2004. The rally was supported by the Women's Network Information and Education Center, Gay Alliance, Gay-Forum of Ukraine and the Kyiv portal of libertarian initiatives. The picket participants distributed flyers with appeals to stop homophobia, racism, xenophobia and other forms of hatred.


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