INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, TRANSPHOBIA AND BIPHOBIA

LGBTIs have right to life, safety

The range of unequal treatment faced is extensive and damaging, sometimes life-threatening

In Summary

• The IDAHOTB helps LGBTI people to forge alliances to change hateful, discriminatory laws and practices.

• Bringing an end to homophobia and transphobia will save lives. 

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people.

May 17 was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify “homosexuality” as a mental disorder. This year’s global theme is 'Justice and Protection for All'.

In many countries, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) means living with daily discrimination based on your sexual orientation (who you’re attracted to); gender identity (how you define yourself, irrespective of your biological sex), gender expression (how you express your gender through your clothing, hair or make-up), or sex characteristics (like your reproductive organs or hormone levels.)

From name-calling and bullying to being denied a job or appropriate healthcare, education or housing, the range of unequal treatment faced is extensive and damaging, sometimes life-threatening.

A spate of violence against trans people, for example, claimed the lives of at least 369 individuals between October 2017 and September 2018. Many intersex people are forced to undergo dangerous, invasive unnecessary surgeries that can cause life-long physical and psychological side effects.

Many intersex people are subjected to invasive, non-emergency, irreversible “normalising” surgeries, often when they are children, that leave people with devastating and long-term physical or mental difficulties.

Sometimes, hostility directed at LGBTI people is stoked by the very governments that should be protecting them. In many parts of Africa, LGBTI people live in fear of being found out, attacked or even murdered.

The IDAHOTB helps LGBTI people to forge alliances to change hateful, discriminatory laws and practices. Today, at least 43 countries recognise homophobic crimes as a type of hate crime.  

A person’s sexual orientation refers to who they are attracted to and have relationships with. Sexual orientations include lesbian (women who are attracted to women), gay (usually men who are attracted to other men, bisexual (attracted to men and women), pansexual (attracted to individuals, regardless of gender), asexual (not sexually attracted to anyone).

Transgender (or trans) people are individuals whose gender identity or gender expression is different from typical expectations of the gender they were assigned at birth.

Not all transgender people identify as male or female. Some identify as more than one gender or no gender at all. Being transgender has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation.

 

Some trans people decide to transition, the process of living your life as your true gender. There is no single transitioning process. Some people may adopt new pronouns, change their name, apply for legal gender recognition, and/or undergo gender affirming surgery or hormone therapy.

In some countries, transgender people can have the gender they identify with legally recognised. However, in most cases they must undergo humiliating processes, including getting psychiatric diagnosis and undergoing irreversible sterilisation, which violate their human rights. Just seven countries - Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Norway - don’t have any of these requirements.

When someone is born with sex characteristics that differ from what is typically seen as female or male, they are known as intersex. In some cases, a person’s body has both male and female characteristics. In others, a person’s chromosomal make-up is neither typically male nor female. These characteristics might be present at birth or become more evident during or after puberty. 

Many intersex people are subjected to invasive, non-emergency, irreversible “normalising” surgeries, often when they are children, that leave people with devastating and long-term physical or mental difficulties.

Bringing an end to homophobia and transphobia will save lives. Harassing LGBTI people puts them at heightened risk of physical and psychological harm. Everyone has the right to life, freedom and safety.

By embracing LGBTI people and understanding their identities, we can learn how to remove limitations imposed by gender stereotypes, which are damaging to all members of society.

Amnesty International stands up to discrimination against LGBTI people around the world. We give recommendations to governments and other influential leaders on how to improve laws and protect people’s rights regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Amnesty International’s Global Creative Manager