The International Day Against
Homophobia (IDAHO) is an event designed to heighten awareness of
homophobia in societies across the globe. The event is now in its
fourth year. Unlike GLBT Pride, celebrated globally in June, whose
mission to foster a healthy acceptance of homosexuality is carried
out with a theme of increasing pride in the gay community, IDAHO is
saying that it is society that must end homophobia. IDAHO
acknowledges that homophobia exists around the world - even
state-sponsored homophobia - and its impact affects all of society
The event is the brainchild of
Louis-Georges Tin, a professor and author of a number of books,
including the Dictionary of Homophobia. Tin, the founder of
IDAHO, a Paris-based organization, has also proposed a United Nations
resolution declaring that homosexuality should no longer be
considered a crime anywhere in the world.
The day has been recognized by
governments worldwide, including the European Parliament, Belgium,
the United Kingdom and Mexico and several provinces of Canada, Brazil
and Spain. The government of Costa Rica recently announced support
for the day. Events are held each year in over 50 countries
In the United Kingdom, London
organizers plan to mark the day by honoring Jody Dobrowski, who was
beaten to death in a homophobic attack.
Mariela Castro, President Raul Castro's
daughter, is organizing Cuba's second anti-homophobic festival. The
weeklong festival's program of movie screenings, debates and book
fairs will culminate with IDAHO. Castro has also proposed legal
recognition of same-sex couples to communist party officials.
In previous years, activist in Japan
delivered letters to the embassies of some of the eighty countries where homosexuality
is a crime. Protests have been organized in Latin American and
Europe. In the US, a minute of silence marked the day.
The date of the event was chosen
because it is the date homosexuality was removed from the World
Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases
in 1990. Coincidently, on May 17th, 2004 Massachusetts
became the first State to recognize same-sex marriages.