The International Day Against Homophobia campaign has got off to a positive start this year, according to gay group, IDAHO.

Last year the first International Day Against Homophobia was marked in over 40 countries throughout the world, including the first gay and lesbian rally in China, and an internet campaign by MAHA, a group of LGBT militants in Iran.

The campaign, which has recently received recognition by the European Parliament, draws heavily on action taken by communities to establish LGBT rights as human rights throughout the world.

Derek Lennard, the UK Co-ordinator of IDAHO said “The campaign has got off to a cracking start this year. In Manchester, individuals and representatives from a variety of organisations including the Greater Manchester Police Authority, Manchester City Council and the British Council are meeting this month to plan some major initiative for May 17th.

Ben Crouch who is co-ordinating the campaign in Manchester said “We want to reflect about those individuals whose lives have been tragically ended or affected by homophobia, whilst also showcasing and sharing knowledge on the various ways to defeat homophobia in its many guises”.

In London, an event in Soho is being planned to focus on the scourge of homophobic violence, and lgbt police consultation groups are already planning events throughout the capital. A minutes silence at 8pm on May 17th to mark the victims of homophobic violence is also set to take place in pubs and clubs, and at mid-day in civic buildings.

This idea was suggested by a UK Bar Owner and is spreading throughout Europe. Derek Lennard said “Obviously this will be a challenge to organise properly, and we are very much relying on the goodwill of the gay media and websites to spread the word.

The official launch of UK-Idaho will take place on Friday 7th April in London when Louis-Georges Tin, IDAHO’s founder will speak on the history of homophobia, Labour MEP Michael Cashman will be speaking about the campaign in the European Parliament, and there will be a dramatisation based on the book by veteran gay campaigner, Rex Batten called “Rid

England of this Plague”.

Mr Lennard said: “We hope all groups will consider planning events on May 17th and contribute to this important international campaign, whether it is a protest, a demonstration, a celebration of our diversity, or the launching of a new initiative. Last year in France there were 100 events in 25 towns, debates, demonstrations, TV/radio Programmes, art exhibitions and film festivals.”

“This is an important opportunity for The UK Gay, Lesbian , Bisexual and Transgender Communities in the UK, with our rich history, creativity and diversity to show the world what we can do.”

The IDAHO campaign in the UK is co-ordinated by Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.