On the 17th of May the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is celebrated worldwide. The day marks 25 years since homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders by the World Health Organization. Since then, celebrations promoting sexual and gender diversity are held all over the world and it is officially recognised by almost 20 states.
At the same time the IDAHOT has the purpose of raising awareness about the long way ahead in order to achieve equality and overcome homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. There are still countries where the death penalty can be applied for same sex acts, and sexual and gender minorities still face stigmatisation and repression. The 17th May is a day to stand up for and show solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
This year the IDAHOT focuses on the challenges that the LGBTQ youth faces but also on empowering them to freely express their sexual orientation and live each day without constant fear or shame. Facing heterosexual norms, especially in an academic environment where the student does not have the choice of being forced to stand up to peer pressure and being a target of bullying, has the consequence of influencing the development of LGBTQ youth negatively. As a consequence they often suffer from a lower self-esteem and have higher tendencies to inflict self-harm. Depression and suicide rates are disproportionally higher compared to their heterosexual peers.
The European Students’ Union supports the IDAHOT and its visions and goals and stands with the LGBTQ community, especially encouraging the LGBTQ youth to be who they are.
For more information, please consult IDAHOT website.