IDAHOBIT 2023: Together Always: United in Diversity
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) was created in 2004 to raise awareness of the violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBTQIA+ communities, including people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.
The day falls on 17 May every year, and it was chosen specifically to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision, in 1992, to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The theme for IDAHOBIT 2023 is “Together always: United in Diversity”.
To mark the day this year, the Diversity and Inclusion Team reflects with Lucy Day, Impact Officer in Research and Innovation Services:
What are some hard-won advances for the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK that you would like to highlight to the university?
There have been so many pivotal moments in history. From Roberta Cowell being the first British transgender woman to undergo gender reassignment surgery (1951), The Stonewall Riots (1969), the first pride march in London (1972), the introduction of Section 28 (1988-2003) and the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness (1992). It wasn’t until 2004 that LGBTQIA+ couples could recognise their relationship with a civil partnership (marriage equality in 2013). It wasn’t until 2008 that LGBTQIA+ couples were recognised as the legal parents of children conceived through fertility treatment. There have been so many battles fought by some incredible people. It feels important to recognise that we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, whilst recognising that there is so much more to do.
What is the significance of May 17 IDAHOBIT?
Identifying as LGBTQIA+ is still illegal in 64 countries across the world and there are many more places where LGBTQIA+ rights are being eroded. IDAHOBIT is the chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with our international community and allies to stand together in solidarity and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.
What can be done to realise unity in diversity?
- Keep an open mind by acknowledging, celebrating, and understanding others’ differences. This can be in the form of truly seeing a person, which involves developing a sincerely relationship with the person, so that they feel genuinely heard and understood.
- Embrace the uniqueness of others by creating safe spaces for their expression, experience, and existence which is a form of celebration.
- Be empathetic and challenge yourself to understand a person better before letting your unconscious biasness cloud your judgement.
- Develop an appreciation for differences: Ask questions! The more you learn about why people act, talk, think, and live differently from you, the more you will understand and appreciate those differences. It is important to approach these questions with an open mind and placing yourself in another’s shoes and being respectful!
Why is solidarity important to the LGBTQIA+ community?
Solidarity is a mutual commitment to one another's well-being as dreamed and defined by the other person, and an establishment on shared regard of another’s uniqueness! Solidarity is important to the LGBTQIA+ community because respect is given to others’ differing needs, experiences, and life circumstances. It is important to feel part of a wider supportive community.
Developing an appreciation for differences is a way to embrace the complexity of communities and foster strong relationships.
We hope that this date brings attention to the importance of solidarity, allyship, and community across identities, borders, and movements, and in turn provides an opportunity for people to engage in dialogue and take action!
Every year LJMU participates in the Pride March in Liverpool which takes place in July 2023. More information will be confirmed soon but you can register your interest in attending here.
If you are a LJMU staff member and would like to join the LGBTQI+ Network, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a LJMU student and would like to join the LGBTQI+ society, find out more on the JMSU website.