IDAHoBIT Day marks 30 years of progress and pain

Today marks 30 years since the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its official register of diseases.

To note the annual passing of this important historical rights achievement IDAHO Day was launched 15 years ago.

Since then International Day Against Homophobia has broadened it’s acronym to include people who are transgender, bisexual  or intersex as well, and it’s gained the catchy name IDAHoBIT too. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Breaking the Silence’.

In 2010 the Writing Themselves In 3 study showed that same-sex attracted youth still experienced a high level of discrimination and bullying.

Seventy five per cent of young people surveyed shared that they had experienced some sort of discrimination, while 61 per cent had experienced verbal abuse and 19 per cent had experienced physical abuse.

The international event comes as reports of discrimination and abuse based on people’s sexuality and gender identity continue to rise in some parts of the world.

In France there has been a significant increase in crime motivated by prejudice over sexuality. Yesterday the government revealed that in 2019 there were 1,870 victims of homophobic or transphobic offences, an increase of 36% on the previous year.

Insults made up 33% of the offences, while physical and sexual violence filled 28% of the complaints. The victims were mainly men – 75% – with 62% of offences perpetrated against those under 35 years of age.

LGBTI rights advocates ave highlighted that latest figures do not tell the full story because many people simply do not report crimes that occur.

While in South Korea the latest breakout of the COVID-19 virus has been unfairly tied to Seoul’s LGBTIQ community. When over 100 cases were traced back to Seoul’s nightspots and 28 year-old man was identified as the source of the infections.

Newspapers identified the man, and reported that he only visited LGBTI nightspots. Leading many of the people who had tested positive to the virus to fear they would lose their jobs or face discrimination with their companies assuming they were also same-sex attracted.

Homosexuality is legal in South Korea but there remains a strong stigma against those who are in same-sex relationships. There are very few prominent gay people in the media or government.

An increasing number of cases of discrimination are being tied to the lockdowns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the United Nation’s Development Program has highlighted some of the other areas of the world where homophobia is being experienced due to COVID-19.

“With four billion people in lockdown worldwide, there are growing number of reports about emergency powers being used to target LGBTIQ+ people. This includes the misuse of digital technologies to monitor people’s movements during lockdowns or curfews.” Steiner said in a statement.

“LGBTIQ+ people are reporting an elevated risk of domestic and family violence, increased social isolation and anxiety as well as difficulties in accessing crucial HIV treatment and gender-affirming health services.

“The economic crisis is also disproportionally affecting LGBTIQ+ people, many of whom work in the informal sector or are unemployed and lack access to paid sick leave or unemployment compensation.” Steiner said.

OIP Staff


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