There are more and more occasions, dates and movements each year with a focus on improving the lives for those that identify as LGBT+.
Today, May 17th, is one of those that has been celebrated since 2004 - International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia. On this same date 14 years before the commemoration started, the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
This came after decades of misunderstanding, hostility and horrific treatment against the LGBT+ community. So how are countries around the world standing up against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia? What could be improved to ensure there is more equal understanding of eachother across the world?
As IDAHOT is recognised around the world, we've looked into what countries are doing to change the perceptions and stereotypes around LGBT+.
In Eastern Europe, the city of Bialystok held a demonstration to tackle the stereotypes around homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender identity.
Taken and translated from a news report by wyborcza.pl:
"During Friday's action in front of the town hall in Białystok, it's main organizer Jakub Przybysz recalled [...] the fact that in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association deleted homosexuality from the list of diseases, and in 1990 the World Health Organization adopted a similar position. He also recalled the position of the Main Board of the Polish Sexual Society of June 2017 "on the distinction between two separate but commonly confused concepts: homosexuality and pedophilia"
Several initiatives were taking place across Italy on May 17th, organised by Anti-Discrimination Office (UNAR) and the Department of Equal Opportunities.
Vincenzo Spadafora, the Undersecretary of Equal Opportunities, presented results of a survey carried out on LGBT people to the Council of Ministers, together with the government's plans for prevention of discrimination around LGBT+ matters.
Also in the capital, a debate was held at the Quarticcilo Library Theatre, with panel participants Anna Foglietta, Monica Cirinnà, Sebastiano Secci, Michele Pipia, Cristina Leo & Juliette Nguefack.
In Bologna, the historic capital of the Italian LGBTI community, the gay choir Komos hosted Doodles (Prague gay choir) for the closing of the eighth edition of the 'Komos & Co. - music among friends'. The free concert is in the national program "in chorus against the homo-bi-transphobia", promoted by Cromatica.
In Palermo, a flash mob appeared in front of the xylophone-shaped bench in Piazza Aragona, painted with the colours of the rainbow. This was created by the artists and eco designer of Alab. Performances also took place from multiple groups, and people were also encouraged to leave supportive words and drawings to support the movement against homophobia.
Following a series of brutal and discriminating detainings of gay people in Chechnya earlier this year, where 2 died following torture, there is still hope for Russia to be fighting for better rights for those that identify as LGBT+.
May 17th saw a rainbow flash mob in the form of a balloon launch in Komsomolsky Square, Moscow. The balloons aim to send a statement and call for international peace, to show homophobia and hatred is bad, whilst respect and love is good. This is the second year such an occasion has happened.
Both offline and online events were organised in the South Asian country, by Queer Youth Group & Initiative Gay Youth.
Anyone was welcome to share a message showing they were against queerphobia, and showing acceptance of diverse gender identities and sexual orientation. Using the #IDaQuMoB and #IDaQuMoB2019, people featured photos of them with their message to spread the word of hope and positivity.
At LOOM Nepal, Thapathali, Kathmandu, there was an hour of open mic for performers to bring speeches, poetry, dancing and share their stories on stage. They soon saw a gathering march towards Fibwa Khya, the central protest square in Kathmandu. People gathered their for a while to spread the word before finalising the event.
There are sadly still several countries around the world where it is difficult to identify as LGBT+, and you are highly likely to experience discrimination on many levels.
Egypt is one of those countries where progress for more equal rights is still to be made. However, this doesn't stop the voices of those who are fighting for those rights being asserted.
An online campaign #unjustjustice is focusing on the situation of LGBTQI people in Egypt and the state violence in detention places and prisons.
On the ground, discussions around international visibility and how it contributes to the queer movement in Egypt have taken place, with a social media campaign throughout May 17th, and Rainbow Egypt hosting invitation only events in Alexandria and Cairo.
It's great to see what how other countries have been marking IDAHOT in 2019, and even more exciting to think what could happen next.
Whilst in the UK, there is a greater level of understanding and acceptance for those who identify as LGBT+, it's unfortunately not the same picture elsewhere in the world. But with the support and love we can show those who may feel alone or isolated where they live, gives them just a bit of hope for a better future to come.
We always love to hear how you're showing the fight for better equality, wherever you are in the world - please do share your stories by contacting us. You can do this anonymously if you wish.