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World's Largest LGBTI Solidarity Event, International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, to Take Place in Over 120 Countries on May 17th, 2014

PARIS, FRANCE--(Marketwired - May 15, 2014) -

  • May 17 has been observed as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia since 2005
  • This year on May 17, demonstrations and acts of solidarity will take place in over 120 countries, linking LGBTI communities and supporters around the world
  • 2.8 billion people worldwide live in one of the 81 countries, which still criminalize same-sex acts.
  • 4.9 billion people, that's 2/3 of the world's population, have their right to information or expression around sexual and gender diversity systematically censored by the State.

May 17 has grown to be the largest annual celebration of the diversity that exists among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and all those who are stigmatized and discriminated against for not adopting the conventions of the majority in their expressions of sexuality and gender.

This year again, over 1,000 events will happen in over 120 countries. This mobilisation takes place in a context of brutal harshening of anti-homosexuality laws in certain parts of the world, as was witnessed recently in Uganda, Nigeria and Brunei. Our calculations reveal that 2.8 billion people (40% of the world population) live in countries which criminalise same-sex acts.

This year the global mobilisations will focus heavily on freedom of expression and provide a very important opportunity to remind our societies that the expression of one's gender identity is part of the most basic human rights. In many countries, alternative expressions of sexuality and gender are being censored through 'morality' or 'anti-propaganda' laws, with Russia providing the most recent example. 68% of the world's population live in countries which legally restrict the freedom of expression and right to information on the diversities of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Tamara Adrian, Venezuelan lawyer, trans and human rights activist, and chairperson of the IDAHO Committee, says: "There is an urgent need to reaffirm that sexuality and gender are vital expressions of human nature. Not only for sexual and gender minorities, but for everyone." As in previous years, it is anticipated that activists will face threats, intimidation and violence in certain parts of the world. Some events have already had to be cancelled due to public hostility, and interventions on the part of authorities. But increasingly, allies from outside of sexual and gender minorities join their voices to oppose censorship and repression, and May 17 provides a much needed opportunity to demonstrate the support of allies to the cause.

With actions taking place globally in various forms and with the most diverse agendas, ranging from fighting violence against the Nepali Third Gender 'Metis' community to celebrating Brussels' annual LGBT Pride March, May 17 allows us to celebrate just that: the sheer diversity of the global fight for sexual and gender diversities.

For Nevin Öztop, a leading Turkish human rights defender and board member of the IDAHO Committee, "May 17 provides a platform to highlight the diversity of expressions of sexual orientations and gender identities, and to deconstruct the lie that the recognition of this diversity is a 'Western' import. But [the day is] also to express what links all of these together."

Please refer to our website www.dayagainsthomophobia.org for comprehensive information and more facts and figures. Please follow us on www.facebook.com/may17idahot and www.twitter.com/may17IDAHOT. The main hashtag for the global mobilisation is #IDAHOT

Some 2014 Events -- full events listing and information available on the www.dayagainsthomophobia.org site

Speak Out and Speak Up campaign. IFEX, the global network for freedom of expression groups worldwide, in association with Article 19, the IDAHO Committee, Amnesty International and over 150 more organisations, have launched a major Global Call to World Leaders to protect LGBTI Free Expression, which is supported by a global Thunderclap campaign, expected to reach over a million people on the Day.

UN agencies will observe the Day. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will mark the Day with a special address. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will release a special video, focused on LGBT families. UNESCO will be promoting the 'Teach the IDAHO Lesson' education kit, to combat LGBT bullying in schools. UNAIDS director Michel Sidibé will release a video message. Many regional UN offices will hold special events.

Global Inter-faith Prayer Initiative. Gionata, the Italian Project on Faith and Homosexuality, is once again gearing up for a Global Inter-faith Prayer, in partnership with the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, expecting dozens of events in various countries.

In Russia public actions are expected to take place in at least 11 cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. This marks the biggest wave of co-ordinated LGBTI rights actions in the country since the federal government enacted laws prohibiting homosexual 'propaganda' in summer 2012. Azerbaijan will see an unprecedented series of events for IDAHOT 2014, with an online participatory art campaign, a sing-in and march for equality. In Ankara, Turkey, an international conference on LGBT rights and freedom of expression will precede the now traditional LGBT street march. Cyprus' first ever LGBT pride parade will be held at the end of a two week festival, which starts on May 17. In Germany, joint 'Rainbowflash' balloon releases will light up at least 6 city skylines. Actions are already announced in more than 30 towns and cities in the United Kingdom, where several members of the national parliament have also tabled a formal welcoming of the Day.

The Philippines will see an influx of events this year, including street parades, musical performances, street theatre and light shows, and many more. Actions will take place in at least seven cities in Indonesia. Highlights in Hong Kong include a candlelight vigil, community picnic, fund-raising night, trans rights awareness raising session and social media campaign.

Plans for May 17 are in the works in all major cities in Brazil, with over 100 events already confirmed, including a major national conference with representatives from the Ministry of Education. Activists will put on a mass kiss-in which will be held outside the National Congress in Paraguay. Venezuela will see a 'March Against Homophobia & Transphobia' in Caracas, where activists are also campaigning for official government recognition of May 17.

For May 17 in Mauritius, community groups are organizing a creative day and art exhibition, as well as a Rainbow Parade. In Cameroon religious and political leaders will come together to discuss homosexuality. An exhibition on human rights violations and a major community event will take place. Aside from diverse events confirmed in Johannesburg and Cape Town, in South Africa, progressive religious groups in the city of Durban are holding an 'IDAHOT 2014 Beach Walk for Freedom of Expression' on May 17.

Organizations from around the United States will come together through the Equality Pledge where community groups will reaffirm their commitment to global solidarity and international human rights discourses through various events that will take place throughout the continental US. Communities in various cities in Australia are gearing up for a big wave of events this year with a global participatory art exhibition on the universal theme of Love.

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