International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

17 May 2011

On May 17th, 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. European leaders immediately made statements to "stand against discrimination, to defend our fellow human beings and our fundamental principles." The governmental movement continued, and in 2006, at the The Declaration of Montréal, the International Day Against Homophobia was declared, and the date of May 17th was chosen as an annual event. Transphobia was added later.

The International Day Against Homophobia belongs to no one individual in particular. It concerns everybody who hopes for a prejudice-free world that can provide a place at the table for everyone. It is celebrated by different people in different ways in many countries. Schools use the day to teach students about discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender discrimination. Awareness is raised by posters and the rainbow flag. Though it is an international event, the US media has been slow to report on events.

This year, Hillary Clinton issued a statement:

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release May 17, 2011


International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.

Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.