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IDAHOT day: Festivities but homophobic hate too

Celebrations, awards and inspiring statements marked today’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in many countries, although opponents in Uganda, Ukraine and elsewhere intervened to block the festivities there.

Banner for 2018's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

A banner promoting 2018’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Uganda’s homophobic Minister of Ethics Simon Lokodo and Ugandan police forced the cancellation of IDAHOT events in Kampala, even though LGBTIQ rights advocates at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) had received permits for them.

The situation in Uganda was similar to last week’s events in Lebanon, where the organizer of Beirut Pride Week was arrested and the week’s worth of activities were shut down after a few days.

In many countries, IDAHOT was celebrated without any noticeable opposition. (See below.)

But in several other countries, opposition was strong. Here is a list [compiled with assistance from activist Rex Wockner] of countries where vocal opposition made the news:

Georgian Orthodox wedding mgid ao image 651082

This intimate Georgian Orthodox wedding is a small version of the huge protest-wedding planned by the Georgian Orthodox Church (Photo courtesy of Next New Now)

Georgian Orthodox Church Will Wed 400 Straight Couples On International Day Against Homophobia
The Georgian Orthodox Church is protesting International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) by holding a mass wedding of 400 heterosexual couples. The church, a vehemently ant-gay denomination with 3.5 million members worldwide, previously declared May 17 “Family Purity Day.” » Next New Now
Georgia: LGBT community cancels demonstration on Day against Homophobia
“Far-right and fascist groups in Georgia stated they would not let the queer rights groups hold a demonstration this year.” » Georgia Today
China: Various regions stop LGBT right events
In Guangzhou, an IDAHO event “was considered an ‘illegal gathering’ and was canceled by the local public security and cultural bureau. » Global Times
China: LGBT groups cautioned against Western political agenda
“Security staff at Beijing’s 798 Art Zone roughed up two female visitors simply for wearing rainbow badges on their clothes. The incident caused an uproar online.”
Ukraine: Threats of violence block LGBTI event; police just watch
Police in Ukraine stood by on May 10 as opponents of LGBTI rights disrupted a planned panel discussion about reasons not to adopt a Russia-style ban on “gay propaganda.” » Erasing 76 Crimes

This is a sampling of the day’s events in countries where they were allowed to proceed:

Thursday Island police and staff supports IDAHOT

In far northern Australia, Thursday Island police and staff celebrate IDAHOT (Photo courtesy of Queensland Police News)

Rainbow cupcakes were a hit at the Thursday Island police station

From Thursday Island off the north shore of Australia, as reported in Queensland Police News :

“Rainbow-inspired sweet treats ensured the crew were sufficiently sugar-filled to get through the day. Thursday Island Station proudly support diversity and inclusion in the workplace and welcome the chance to share cake with colleagues and family members alike.”

Indian TV celebrities stand in solidarity against discrimination on IDAHOTB

A selection of prominent Indian TV stars spoke out in favor of LGBTQ rights: “Ahead of this year’s celebration, Indian television celebrities stand in solidarity against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and all forms of hate facing the LGBTQ community across the globe.”

The two honorees: Alice Nkom of Cameroon and Mounir Baatour of Tunisia. (Photo courtesy of Comité Idaho France)

The two honorees: Alice Nkom of Cameroon and Mounir Baatour of Tunisia. (Photo courtesy of Comité Idaho France)

Honors for LGBT rights advocates in Tunisia and Cameroon

Cameroonian lawyer Alice Nkom and her Tunisian colleague Mounir Baatour were honored with France’s Liberty prize on IDAHOT 2018

The prize was presented by François Croquette, French ambassador for human rights, at the National Assembly. Each of them used the occasion to repeat their frequent appeal to their country’s leaders to repeal each nation’s anti-LGBT law.

“It’s about creating a more inclusive and loving society where everyone is valued, no matter who they are or whom they love. Show your support and WATCH AND SHARE THE VIDEO

Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran and State Literacy Mission Authority Director P.S. Sreekala with Transgender Cell State Project Officer Shyama S. Prabha at the inaugural ceremony of the first anniversary of Queerythm in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. | Photo Credit: S. GOPAKUMAR

In India, Kerala State’s IDAHOT celebration also marked the first anniversary of Queerythm, a local organization that works for the welfare of the LGBTIQ community. This was The Hindu’s caption for the photo: “Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran and State Literacy Mission Authority Director P.S. Sreekala with Transgender Cell State Project Officer Shyama S. Prabha.” (S. Gopakumar photo courtesy of The Hindu)

Indian State of Kerala announces pro-LGBT policies on IDAHOTB

The Minister of Tourism in Kerala urged others to adopt policies like Kerala’s: “The Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) had set up a continuous education programme for transgenders. The government had recommended setting up a cooperative society for transgenders. It was also making efforts to identify new job avenues for the transgender people.”

UNAIDS calls for strengthened partnerships to leave no one behind

“Stigma, discrimination and social and physical violence against sexual and gender minorities prevent them from accessing health services,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Everyone has the right to health, no matter their gender or sexual orientation. For that, we need zero discrimination for everyone, everywhere.”

All the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia events in the UK

Six of them, anyway — in London, Leeds, Manchester, Dorset, Liverpool and Newry. Surely there were more.

From Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to [the Indian National Congress], here’s how the world is celebrating equality

“He is not just the Prime Minister of Canada, but also the most loved by the LGBTQIA+ community. Here’s how the Canadian PM won hearts today … [By tweeting} ‘we stand together against stigma, persecution, and discrimination.’ ”

Plus IDAHOT news from India, Nepal, Belgium and Lithuania, where a rainbow-colored crosswalk appears on May 17 to celebrate IDAHOT.

Rainbow crosswalk honors IDAHOT in Lithuania. (Photo courtesy of the Lithuanian Gay League)

Rainbow crosswalk honors IDAHOT in Lithuania. (Photo courtesy of the Lithuanian Gay League)

Canada, India, Nepal, Lithuania, Belgium, Uganda, Ukraine, Georgia, United Kingdom, Australia, UNAIDS, UN, India, China, Cameroon, Tunisia


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