What is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT)?


International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is observed annually on May 17.


In 1990, on May 17, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, this is why we now commemorate IDAHOBIT on that day each year.


IDAHOBIT aims to highlight the violence, discrimination and repression experienced by LGBTQ+ people all over the world.


The day had been originally known as International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), but biphobia, intersex discrimination and transphobia were later added to form IDAHOBIT.

First established in 2004, by 2016 the commemorations were being marked by more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are still illegal.


As of 2022, according to the Human Dignity Trust, 71 nations still criminalise private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity. The majority of these jurisdictions explicitly criminalise sex between men via ‘sodomy’, ‘buggery’ and ‘unnatural offences’ laws.


43 criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between women using laws against ‘lesbianism’, ‘sexual relations with a person of the same sex’ and ‘gross indecency’.

An overview of the countries across the world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are criminalised. Source: humandignitytrust.org

11 countries – Afghanistan, Brunei, Darussalam, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen – retain the death penalty for LGBTQ+ people, according to ILGA Asia. Eight of those countries are in Asia.


At least 6 of these implement the death penalty – Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen – and the death penalty is a legal possibility in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and UAE.


15 jurisdictions criminalise the gender identity and/or expression of transgender people, according to the Human Dignity Trust. They do so using so-called ‘cross-dressing’, ‘impersonation’ and ‘disguise’ laws. In many more countries transgender people are targeted by a range of laws that criminalise same-sex activity and vagrancy, hooliganism and public order offences.


Ajita Banerjie, Research Officer at ILGA Asia, said in a statement, “The reports of human rights violations against the LGBTIQ community from war-torn areas and countries with authoritarian regimes are extremely troubling, especially given that actual data on these inhumane incidents of violence and torture may never be known.”

“The clampdown on human rights reporting and activism under these regimes makes it nearly impossible to understand the gravity and extent of these violations.”



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