The organisers of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), have said they are delighted at the range of events taking place across the country.

 

17th May is IDAHO, in commemoration of the day in 1990 that the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

 

From an elderly LGBT group launching in Belfast to trade unionist laying wreaths for those executed in Iran as a result of their sexuality, the day will be marked by thousands of people in the UK and millions worldwide.

 

“On the morning of Saturday May 17th campaigners in Plymouth will be assembling their floats which celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag,” said IDAHO-UK organisers.

 

“A lesbian in Leicester will begin the task of judging the winner of an IDAHO cake competition.

As befits a campaign in the UK, it will be marked in a wide variety of ways, with gravitas, concern, determination, wit and irony.”

 

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association is hosting a meeting at Amnesty International Human Rights Centre in London, which will explore the rights of LGBT people at home and abroad.

In Scotland, campaigners have designed posters under the categories of asylum, justice and human rights under the heading “Love is for everyone, everywhere.”

These have been widely distributed, particularly to schools “to raise the Scottish public awareness of human rights afforded to LGBT people around the world.”

The University and College Union have arranged a major conference in Manchester about LGB Rights in Europe.

In Oxford, Amnesty International have arranged a demonstration and rally which will be addressed by several campaigners, including human rights activist Peter Tatchell.

There will be another demonstration in Medway, Kent, about the homophobic statements of the Bishop of Rochester.

Brighton campaigners will again mark the day by releasing 77 lanterns into the sky, to mark the countries that criminalise homosexuality.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest will unveil a plaque which has been commissioned “to remember the many victims of homophobia and transphobia from around the world and the UK who have lost their lives.”

 

The Lesbian and Gay National Archives have called a conference to reflect and remember Section 28, and an exhibition in Lewisham recalls the decriminalisation of homosexuality in “1967 and all that.”

A film made by a Liverpool LGBT Youth group called Are We There Yet? will be shown as part of a daily programme in a mainstream cinema up to and including IDAHO day.

In Manchester the Lesbian and Gay Foundation will be showing the film Stonewall to “see how far we’ve come.”   

There are many hate crime initiatives too.

In London tomorrow the Metropolitan Police will be in Leicester Square giving out information and advice about hate crime, and will also distribute 10,000 postcards for IDAHO day.

New police advice surgeries/helplines for the LGBT communities will also be launched on IDAHO day in Bromley, Liverpool and Kent.

Local authorities have arranged public awareness raising events for IDAHO, including speeches, entertainment, a minutes noise or silence in Haringey, Hartlepool, Plymouth, Sheffield, Birmingham, Coventry, Bath,  Tameside, South Shields and Northampton.


Posters designed by students at the University of Arts to mark IDAHO have been distributed all around the country in police stations, schools, job centres and youth clubs.

 

IDAHO coincides with the FA Cup Final.

Events to reflect this have been arranged in Brighton, Oldham, and Sheffield.

In the FA Cup Final Programme, not only is there a commitment to tackle homophobia, but support is given for the International Day Against Homophobia.

Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK Coordinator, said:

“Perhaps the time will arrive soon when gay professional footballers will feel safe enough to come out, and help break down one of the last bastions of homophobia in the UK.

“In the meantime, and to the extent which it is appropriate, I would like to wish campaigners and supporters in the UK and abroad a happy IDAHO day for May 17th.”

For more information visit the IDAHO-UK website.