Established on May 17, 2005, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia has become an annual day of awareness for members of the LGBTQ+ community. In 1990, the World Health Organization removed the classification of categorizing homosexuality as being a severe mental health disorder on May 17. Now, the international day of queer recognition is supported in over 130 countries and has been integrated historically in countries where hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals are deemed illegal.
The disproportional hate crimes against transgender people of color has helped push the IDAHOTB in action. Black Congresswoman Barbara Lee alongside 60 other government officials deliberated on the social impact that this international day could have for vulnerable groups of LGBTQ+ people in the United States. There are heightened acts of violence targeted towards queer people and this harassment is commonly experienced within the community.
According to Harvard’s school of Public Health, 51% of LGBTQIA+ identifying people have experienced physical bullying, sexual harassment, or derogatory slurs that discriminate against their homosexuality or queerness.
The implementation of this newer international day has led to more international countries acknowledging the fragile populations in their societies that are subjected to the most prejudices based on their gender and sexual orientation. There are now thousands of organizations worldwide that hold events for queer individuals to feel protected and commemorated on May 17.
In 2009, transphobia was added to this day of recognition prior to it being mostly known for spotlighting homosexual people. To further solidify this addition of transpeople to this international day, France became the first country to eradicate transphobia in terms of not allowing transgender personnel to be perceived as victims of mental health illness. Following this declaration in 2009, four years later France legalized same-sex marriage. Then in 2015, biphobia was added to the IDAHOTB campaign.
The cultivation of this important LGBTQIA+ holiday has contributed to the historical, cultural, and legislative shifts that are humanizing more people with queer identities. Nonetheless, the disparaging violence that transgender and nonbinary individuals experience daily showcases the systematic repression they continue to face that stems from the conservative ideals that are still intact and pervasive across the globe.