Scrolling through my Twitter feed today I saw some tweets related to IDAHOT—or IDAHOBIT, as some are calling it, events and news, and realized I missed the blog hop. I was shocked! How could that have happened? Admittedly, I’m not much good, these days, at calendaring, planning, or organizing. When I stopped working in social services, I stopped keeping any kind of day book, and now if I something doesn’t trigger my memory I either miss things or scramble to catch up to them.
But that’s just it. For the last several years, I’ve taken part in a huge blog hop for this international awareness event, and I’ve always gotten the reminders I needed it to get that all-important post up in time. This year—silence. Once I realized today was the day, I searched Google and visited the former organizers blogs, and the former event homepage for the hop—nothing.
So if there’s a hop, I missed it, but I’m blogging anyway.
It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I wonder if there’s been some huge black mark against the organizers of the “Day Against” queer phobias. It could be, and I could have missed it. I’m reminded that when I worked in an office environment I was always the last to know about office scandals—even when I was purportedly at the center of them. Maybe I’m somehow breaking ranks to commemorate the day at all.
I believe that “unity” is the key part of the word “community,” and if we don’t stand up together to celebrate our gains and commemorate our losses, to honor those who breathe our air, and remember those we’ve lost, then we cannot claim a right to the word. And make no mistake, we need community. We need it on a personal level, but now more than ever we also need it if we are to have any hope of undoing the untenable developments in governments around the world (and especially in the United States), which are driving us hell-bent for leather toward rule by the rich, for the rich, at the expense of our basic freedoms, our civil rights, and everything we hold dear and necessary to live as fully human.
What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other? —George Eliot
This year’s theme for DAHAT is family. No matter how you define them, families are community in the early stages. They make a great beginning. I celebrate them and am more than thankful for my several differently defined families. I feel the need to pull those families together for strength, though. All of us are the center of such a star-cluster of families, and though we are the center only from our own viewpoint, from that position we can exert our personal gravity to pull others in, rather than insisting on standing stock still rooted in cemented opinions and letting community fall away unwelcomed. Common cause is always strengthened by numbers, so the greater the community we embrace, the greater our ability to create and protect change for good.
Maybe, there’s no divide in the community and I’m jumping to the wrong conclusions. Maybe there is a divide and it’s because “bi” is not officially part of the acronym. (Note: I am bisexual and am truly sick of being “erased.”) Either way, I’m glad for IDAHOBIT, as it should be called, because the world today is chockfull of hate (yes, even if for some reason they hurt my feelings and I don’t know it). Remember those achievements we celebrated? Like marriage equality, protection for trans students, recognition of same sex couples as adoptive parents, protection of our rights in the workplace, housing, and the marketplace? Consider those the curtain wall around our castle. Armed with unfathomable financial support, white supremacists, Leviticus quoters, and twisted, greedy orcs who believe they are Nietzsche’s Übermensch are beating at our gates. We are under siege. They’ve got the money and the tools, and all we have is each other—community.
IDAHOT, behind which stands people who may, like me, be imperfect, calls itself a “Worldwide Celebration of Sexual and Gender Diversities”—a pretty inclusive term. Read this BBC article about Chechnya, or this attack in Portsmouth, England (though The Sun‘s article is presented as sensationalism), or any honest reportage about the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. You’ll see why I believe inclusivity, finding unity and community, standing together even if it means we must tolerate imperfections in our vision, in our line of locked shields.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” —JK Rowling (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
Thank you for reading. Here’s the link to DAHOT’s page, followed by the text portion of their media release about 2017. Visit their site for news about related events and social media links.
IDAHOT 2017 media release
MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate release
May 17, 2017 marks the 12th annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia*
The celebrations will span the coming week. All over the world, lights will shine on the situation of sexual and gender minorities.
Many actions will focus on the horrible situation in Chechnya this year, where dozens of LGBT people have been rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces. Around the world, rallies and protests are being organised to denounce the situation and put pressure on leaders to bring it to an end.
But while mobilisation grows in some parts, IDAHOT events have had to be cancelled in several places due to pressure from opponents, as in Lebanon or Bosnia. In the Caucasus country of Georgia, activists have been driven off the streets by violent attacks for several years now, as opponents “claim” May17 as the “day of traditional families”.
To denounce the frequent usurpation of family values by conservative movements, this year the IDAHOT has teamed up with the International Family Equality Day, which is being celebrated on May 7ththis year, to declare that “Love is what makes a family”. Rainbow families, parents of LGBT children, and all their allies have rallied around this motto to organise events in over 50 countries.
These, and all the other IDAHOT events, will underline the tragic situation faced by many LGBT people along with their families. But they will also, and surely foremost, be a celebration of the courage, the strength and most of all the LOVE, that drives the fight for the rights of sexual and gender minorities.
Throughout the week, we will circulate information on events, statements from prominent supporters and bring family stories from around the world, all of which will resonate against hatred and extremism.
Among the first trends to which we bear witness this year, we note the strong commitment from progressive movements within churches. Just as families don’t accept the hijacking of their values by extremists fostering hate and violence, people of all faiths don’t resign themselves to the manipulation of their religious values.
We also see that the Day is increasingly recognised at official levels. This trend is not new as in previous years many heads of State, UN agencies, EU institutions and local authorities have marked the Day. But the trend is increasingly visible. To name just some examples, May 17 has entered the formal curriculum in Chile’s schools and in France the public television hosts a thematic IDAHOT evening with debates, documentaries and dramas. The UN Free and Equal campaign will once more release a special video, celebrating family.
One sign of this growing recognition is the lighting up of official buildings in rainbow colours; this is an increasingly popular way to mark the Day. Last week-end, Vilnius City Hall in Lithuania joined the global illuminations for the first time, but many more official buildings are on this year’s list, including the now almost “traditional’ Melbourne city bridge.