HRC Honors 2019 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

by HRC Staff

The annual observance shines a light on LGBTQ equality progress and challenges around the world.

In advance of Friday’s observance of the 2019 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), HRC is recognizing the power of global voices speaking out against Brunei’s brutal anti-LGBTQ laws and calling out the Trump-Pence Administration’s appalling silence on the persecution, oppression and torture of LGBTQ people around the globe.

While millions of LGBTQ people around the world continue to secure their basic human rights and gain visibility, the lives of far too many remain at risk under the rule of governments that criminalize their identities and seek to deny their very existence. LGBTQ individuals in at least 10 countries live under the threat of the death penalty simply because of who they are.

“While countries and communities around the globe are increasingly embracing LGBTQ people, far too many of us still live with the threat of discrimination, violence and even death -- including in Brunei, where draconian laws are targeting LGBTQ people, and in Chechnya, where alarming human rights violations against LGBTQ people continue,” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb. “In the absence of White House leadership on these issues, it is critical that the international community continues to stand together in support of LGBTQ people around the world. As we celebrate the 15th annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we honor LGBTQ advocates and allies, global stakeholders, corporate leaders and others worldwide who are committed to erasing social stigma and protecting the human rights of all.”

HRC through its #EyesOnBrunei digital campaign has been shining a spotlight on the dire situation in that country, and calling on the Trump-Pence White House and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to end their deafening silence. While it was reported that the Sultan had declared a moratorium on the death penalty, LGBTQ people are still at risk.  

The Trump-Pence White House has also remained silent on anti-LGBTQ atrocities in Chechnya. Since news of the persecution of individuals suspected of being gay and bisexual first broke, HRC has sounded the alarm through an #EyesOnChechnya campaign and called on the Trump-Pence administration to speak out and take action. Tragically, there are again new reports of a crackdown against LGBTQ people in Chechnya.

This week, HRC and the American Bar Association (ABA) co-hosted a panel on global initiatives to protect LGBTQ communities from violence, including longtime allies and Judy and Dennis Shepard, and participated on a panel at the Embassy of Ireland on the state of LGBTQ rights around the world. And tomorrow, HRC will launch the results of the 2019 HRC Equidad CL Report, a first-of-its-kind assesment evaluating LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices in major businesses and employers in Chile. Inspired by HRC’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) -- the premier benchmarking tool on corporate LGBTQ-inclusive corporate practices -- the Chilean-based survey is designed to promote LGBTQ workplace inclusion and promote best practices to create welcoming spaces for thousands of workers.

HRC works to strengthen the global equality movement through public education, advocacy, fellowships, partnerships and research. Through its Global Fellows program, HRC brings established and emerging LGBTQ leaders to Washington, D.C., for professional development opportunities. This week, HRC is visiting Vietnam to meet with former HRC Global Fellow Thu Le and LGBTQ groups in the country to help develop campaign strategies and raise awareness to end discrimination against LGBTQ people.

HRC also brings advocates from around the world together for the exchange of ideas and practices for advancing LGBTQ equality at HRC’s annual Global Innovative Advocacy Summit. HRC’s global alumni network includes advocates from more than 70 countries,and helps build their individual and organizational capacity through our Global Partnerships program.

IDAHOTB honors the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) resolution to declassify same-sex attraction as a mental disorder in 1990. The move followed a similar decision by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. The WHO’s monumental change created a shift in how many LGBTQ people were treated. In 2004, LGBTQ activists gathered for the first time to mark this date with rallies in support of equality. The anniversary is now marked by celebrations, governmental proclamations, and renewed efforts to end the discrimination and violence that LGBTQ people throughout the world still face.