May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). The date was selected to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Since then, the LGBT community has come a long way; but we still face many health, economic, and legal/social barriers, as well as alarmingly high levels of bias-driven violence.
Here at Fenway, we see first-hand how homophobia and transphobia negatively impact the health and well-being of LGBT people. Here are five ways you can participate in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia to make sure it continues to get better for the LGBT community:
- Spread the Word through Social Media Link to this post or the IDAHOT website on Facebook or Twitter. Tweet your support for the LGBT community using hashtag #IDAHOT. Write your own blog about IDAHOT and share it on Tumblr. Snap a photo of yourself holding a pro-LGBT sign for Instagram. Make equality go viral!
- Contact Your Elected Officials Write your elected officials and ask them to support LGBT-inclusive legislation and oppose legislation that is homophobic or transphobic. Let politicians know you support protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from employment discrimination and domestic violence. Tell them your community matters, and your vote matters.
- Give Back to the LGBT Community Donate to your favorite LGBT causes. If you can’t donate money, donate time. Philanthropy and volunteering can be both fun and rewarding.At Fenway, we can’t wait to celebrate Boston LGBT Pride with supporters who will help us build our float and march with us (email more firstname.lastname@example.org for details). We’re also looking forward to the Boston Spirit Summer Cruise—100% of the ticket sales benefit our work for LGBT health and our supporters get to enjoy a great party.
- Share Your Story Let others know how homophobia or transphobia has affected you. You can help your friends and family understand how anti-LGBT bias negatively impacts people they know and love.
- Listen to Someone Else’s Story Homophobia and transphobia impact us all differently. If you are a cisgender man or woman, educate yourself about the challenges faced by trans members of our community. If you are an LGBT adult, do something that benefits the youth in our community—who face much higher levels of harassment and homelessness than their heterosexual peers. As we work to open other people’s minds, we should see where there’s room to grow ourselves.
And remember, you can take these steps against homophobia and transphobia not just today but every day!