What the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia means to us
Despite being a diverse group of people from different walks of life, Certitude’s LGBTQ+ Network talked to us about how there are still common themes at the heart of their experiences, hopes and fears.
Our first theme in our experiences is our visibility and the impact that can have. How open and ‘out’ we each are about ourselves in certain situations, how other people see us or perhaps what assumptions or judgements people can make about us, simply because we are LGBTQ+.
One network member said:
“As a mother of an 11-year-old LGBTQ+ child it is really important for me to know that we as a collective, continue to raise awareness and educate others to reduce discrimination and help shape the future experiences for people choosing to ‘come out’.”
Because of our personal journeys, we are all very aware of what it means to ‘come out’ and have times where we consciously choose to do so – or actively choose not to.
What does it mean to have rights?
The second theme is about LGBTQ+ rights and ‘acceptance’ of us by societies and cultures – both for ourselves in this country, and for other LGBTQ+ people all over the world. We have talked about how scary the political situation is for huge numbers of LGBTQ+ people in different parts of the world.
As one network member said “if you can be given rights, you can have them taken away”
We have talked about how governments and autocratic leaders have introduced harshly discriminatory legislation against LGBTQ+ people in a cynical attempt to bolster their own popularity and rally people around an easy ‘minority target’.
We have talked about how progressive rights are not to be taken for granted – that we can move backwards as well as forwards.
We have talked about how scared this makes us feel and the fear that the situation might only get worse.
Supporting LGBTQ+ people
Another common theme in our conversations is the barriers we face as people directly supporting people in Certitude who identify as LGBTQ+. Those barriers might come from external sources (such as colleagues, families, friends, etc) or internal (our lack of confidence, lack of training and / or policies to support us).
A network member said:
“We have come a long way in getting rights for our community (at least in certain countries), but history teaches us that everything can change in an instant. It is our moral duty to support people and societies to be respected for who they are.”
Why conversations are important
In raising awareness and having discussions about subjects that are sometimes viewed as taboo, we are highlighting the increased need for acceptance and change as well as the necessity for further education and support resources.
This is why our conversations and awareness days like the International Day Against Homophobia Transphobia and Biphobia are so important. The day marks a ‘worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities’ and is a beacon of global unity and support for LGBTQ+ people.
The awareness day website says:
“May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Thousands of initiatives, big and small, are reported throughout the planet.”
Seeing the volume and variety of people, organisations and places that show their support for IDAHOT is encouraging. To see so many states and international institutions, such as the European Parliament and the United Nations, officially recognise and celebrate the day is especially important because it represents their visible commitment to LGBTQ+ equality and protection.
To find out more visit: What is May 17? ~ May17.org (dayagainsthomophobia.org)