International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia
May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, a movement that’s been going since 2004 – that I somehow didn’t know about until today, but I’m certainly glad exists! I do not identify as lesbian or bisexual, and I am cisgender. That doesn’t matter, because I identify as an ally to the LGBT community, to all by friends who are part of that community and part of my life.
I’m really lucky to currently live in a country (Canada) where you won’t be criminally persecuted for your sexual preferences, where it’s not against the law to live by the gender preference you feel most comfortable with. Same sex marriage has been law here for many years, which is more than I can say for my home country of Australia.
Although in some places there are no longer laws criminalising and marginalising homosexuality & transgender issues, people’s attitudes and the norm in society has a lot of catching up to do, which is why the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia is so important. I feel that it is moral to support the LGBT community. It is most certainly not moral to judge, harass & deny people basic human rights to be who they are because you don’t feel the same way as them, or religious dogma tells you it’s “wrong”. (A great tongue in cheek post from George Takei illustrates how foolish some reasoning behind homophobia can be.)
Be an ally: let people know it’s not okay to treat people poorly due to their preferences – be it in social situations, or be it written in law. Speak up when you hear someone being harassed, or even when you just hear people speaking in general perjorative terms. Like many other issues such as sexism & racism, attitudes must be changed by people making a positive example. Take this with you today, on the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, and every other day going forward and a difference will be made.