May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

By Joan Wark
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This day was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.

In under a decade, May 17 has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilize on a worldwide scale.

The Day represents an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations in 2014. These mobilizations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is not one centralized campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Montréal hosted the first World Out games in 2006, the most significant international conference on LGBT human rights organized to date. This ended with the adoption of the Declaration of Montréal when the final recommendation was read aloud at the Out Games opening ceremony by Ms. Martina Navrátilová. She called on all the countries in the world, and the United Nations, to recognise and promote the 17th of May of each year as the International Day Against Homophobia.

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour stands in solidarity with the LGBTI community and we re-affirm our ongoing fight against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

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