International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2017
Trends and observations
May 17 is now coming to a close in the Americas too and although much is still planned for the rest of the week, some trends have been emerging over the last few days.
Geographical diversity is still the major unique characteristic of the Day. Not just in terms of number of countries where action happens. It’s also about how much the actions spread out in many countries, as the Day confirms its specific relevance for local levels. While “big” events in Brussels, London, Berlin, Paris or Brisbane still make the headlines, the vast majority of the activity happens in very local events at libraries, police stations, sports clubs, offices, etc.
Many of these actions focused this year on the horrible situation in Chechnya, calling for solidarity with the persecuted LGBT people and calling for justice against Chechen leaders.
Many events also focused on this year’s focus on Families, with the slogan “love makes a family” being often taken up in communications. The collaboration between the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and the International Family Equality Day (IFED, May 7) has no doubt been very effective in getting more attention to this particular issue over the past 2 weeks.
We also noted the strong commitment from progressive movements within churches. Just like families don’t accept to see their values being hijacked by extremists, people of all faiths don’t resign themselves to see religious values being manipulated to foster hate and violence and the Day proved once again a useful tool for progressive religious movements.
One of the major really new trends is the level of engagement of individuals, unrelated to a specific structure. So far, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia has been mainly marked by civil society organisations and public authorities. In 2017, thousands of individuals have also joined the “noise” for sexual and gender diversity, especially on Twitter. This resulted interestingly in the “spontaneous” #loveislove to be trending in many places in Europe. This trend suggests that the increasing media coverage and the engagement of some prominent opinion leaders is leading to a much wider public awareness of the Day, which is exciting to see.
As far as action format is concerned, the lighting up of official buildings in rainbow lights is becoming an increasingly popular way to mark the Day, but many more creative actions have been reported, like the issuing of the first LGBT-themed stamp in Cuba or children spontaneously wearing rainbow clothes at school. We will spend the coming weeks investigating and documenting these actions and reporting on the Creative Protest working group on Facebook.
As more is still to come, scrolling down our Facebook page wall will give you a vibrant overview of some highlights of the actions so far. And more is still to come, so stay tuned in.
Happy #IDAHOT #IDAHOBIT week to all !
The IDAHO Committee