May 17th: Together against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia


Each year on May 17, we mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This year’s theme is “Together always: united in diversity”.


The goal of IDAHOBIT is to raise awareness of the violence, discrimination, and oppression experienced by 2SLGBTQ+ communities worldwide.


The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision on this date in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. It was originally called “International Day Against Homophobia”. It was later changed to include transphobia and then biphobia.


Did you know?

  • IDAHOBIT has been officially recognized and commemorated by over 130+ different countries around the world.
  • Canada: in 2022, the federal government created the first ever 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan to “advance equality and the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada”.
  • USA:  in 2021, United States president Joe Bidenused IDAHOBIT to highlight efforts to alleviate LGBTQIA+ discrimination and to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act.
  • Taiwan: on May 17, 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage
  • Singapore: in December 2022, Singapore’s parliament repealed its law banning sex between men.
  • Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis: laws criminalizing gay sex were struck down by the courts in 2022.


At the same time as we have made much progress, there is also a very disturbing trend of hate and violence against people in 2SLGBTQ+ communities. In recent years, we have seen a rise in anti-2SLGBTQ+ rhetoric, fuelled by disinformation and false narratives, often leading to violence, harassment and stigmatisation. For example:


  • USA: the state of Florida has passed a number of laws that target 2SLGBTQ+ people, including taking essential health care away from trans people, censoring schools from educating about sexuality and gender identity, banning trans women and girls from playing sports, and recently proposing to ban drag shows. As well, 14 other US states have passed laws banning gender-affirming health care for those under the age of legal majority.
  • Saudi Arabia: in 2022, authorities cracked down on rainbow-colored toys and clothing in stores in the country's capital, Riyadh, claiming the items encourage homosexuality
  • Qatar: in 2022, Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup exposed its harsh anti-2SLGBTQ+ laws. Qatar's Penal Code still criminalizes homosexual sex, punishable by up to seven years in prison.


In the face of these attacks, now is a more important time than ever to join together in solidarity, across borders, communities, and identities to stand up against anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate. CEIU encourages all of our members to stand up against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia and to actively promote inclusion in our communities and workplaces.