Ollie Entwistle, Chair of CSRA, writes about the importance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Since 2004, the 17th May has been the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, known as IDAHO Day. It was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, social movements, the public and the media to the discrimination still suffered by LGBTI people internationally – including in countries which place criminal sanctions on homosexuality. What makes this event so significant is its worldwide reach. It is celebrated in more than 130 countries – including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Last year there were 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations across the globe.

There has been significant progress made within the UK on LGB* & T equality in recent years with the equalisation of the age of consent, same-sex marriage, and the Gender Reassignment Act to name but a few. However, it is also the case that LGB* & T people in the UK still encounter prejudice inside the workplace and in the rest of their lives.

Internationally, the situation is more challenging. Some countries, such as New Zealand, have made great progress but in many countries homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. Even in countries where being LGB* is not illegal, it can still be very difficult to be open about your sexual orientation. Whilst in many countries, there are no legal protections for those who identify as transgender or intersex.

It is for these reasons that IDAHO day is very important. IDAHO day sends a clear signal that everyone is equal irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity, and, that discrimination and prejudice will not be tolerated. By marking IDAHO day we also send a message of support to our LGB* and T friends across the globe that we are here to support them. United we stand with our brothers and sisters for IDAHO Day!aequal and that we should be treated as such, irrespective of our sexual orientation.

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