International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

May 15, 2023

May 17 marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). It plays a crucial role in promoting equality, raising awareness, and combating discrimination and violence against members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by individuals who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and emphasizes the importance of safeguarding their rights and well-being.

One of the primary reasons we acknowledge IDAHOBIT is to combat homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. These forms of discrimination perpetuate harmful stereotypes, stigmatization, and exclusion. By recognizing this day, we can educate one another, challenge and dismantle prejudices, and foster a culture of acceptance, understanding, and respect for all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Violence against 2SLGBTQ+ people is a current and distressing reality globally including here in Nova Scotia. Acknowledging IDAHOBIT is a way to draw attention to this issue and advocate for measures that protect the rights and safety of these communities. It is crucial to address the underlying societal attitudes and structures that contribute to this violence, as well as to provide support systems and resources to those who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing violence.

IDAHOBIT is also an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health challenges faced by 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. Experiences and threats of discrimination, rejection, and violence can lead to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide within these communities. By acknowledging this day, we can promote mental well-being, encourage open conversations, and ensure access to inclusive mental health services for all individuals.

Legal protections and policies are required to safeguard the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ communities such as those protected by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. It is crucial we ensure that laws are in place to protect individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, education, and other areas of life. By highlighting the importance of legal and social equality, we are working towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

Acknowledging IDAHOBIT also plays a vital role in celebrating the diversity and contributions of members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. It is an occasion to recognize the resilience, courage, and strength of community members who have fought for their rights and paved the way for greater acceptance and inclusivity. By celebrating their achievements, we promote a culture that values diversity and creates safety for individuals to live authentically.

By standing together on this day and throughout the year, we are striving for a world where every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live with dignity, respect, and freedom from violence and discrimination.

The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission