The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) is observed every year on May 17. It aims to stimulate international events that raise awareness of the human rights violations suffered by of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
For IDAHOT 2017, Hivos wants to draw global attention to the difficult situation lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) are in and create more support for their organisations. To encourage you, too, to show your solidarity, we have made a mask you can use to symbolise (and feel!) the hidden lives that LGBTIs are forced to live around the world. Our action is inspired by Kenyan activists who protested against the adoption of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda in 2014 wearing similar masks to remain anonymous.
Help us make a statement with the mask. Post a selfie wearing this mask on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with your message of support in combination with #removethemasks #IDAHOT2017 and/or #freetobeme. Please tag Hivos on Facebook and @hivos on Twitter. You can download the English and Spanish versions of the mask (PDF) from the right sidebar. See the mask instruction page (right sidebar) to put it together.
IDAHOT at Hivos Latin America
Hivos Latin America is participating in various IDAHOT events throughout the region. Amongst others, we will hand out the Hivos mask at the IDAHOT march in Costa Rica, two marches in Honduras and the march in Bolivia that coincides with the International Summit Against Discrimination for Sexual Orientation (Cumbre Internacional Contra la Discriminación por Orientación Sexual). This is organized by Adelante con la Diversidad Sexual (Ahead with Sexual Rights), an initiative Hivos Latin America supports in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. The summit will bring together important LGBTI activists from the Andean region and from other parts of Latin America.
IDAHOT at Hivos East Africa
In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘family’, Hivos East Africa together with our partner Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) is hosting a Reception for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Queer (LGBQ) families on 16 May 2017. The event will hold panel discussions on the role of families as a supportive pillar towards sexual minorities. The select audience will be comprised of family members who will speak about ‘familial experiences’ and coping mechanisms of LGBQ persons.
In addition, Hivos East Africa will be screening the filmOut and About for staff and facilitating similar discussions afterwards on the supportive role families can play for the LGBTI community.
IDAHOT at Hivos Southern Africa
Hivos Southern Africa has adapted this year’s family-centered theme for Zimbabwe to “Love makes a family” and is organising several events, amongst which a screening of the film Out and About on 19 May at the US ambassador's residence in Harare and a family fun day for LGBTIQ people and their families on 20 May at the Netherlands ambassador's residence. Working together with partners, Hivos Southern Africa is maintaining special IDAHOT ZIM online channels, including a dedicated website https://idahotzim.wordpress.com and Twitter account https://twitter.com/idahotZim.
In 73 countries, homosexuality is forbidden by law; in some places it is even punishable by death. But also in countries without legal discrimination, LGBTIs deal with violence and exclusion on a daily basis. The negative and sometimes violent response from their societies forces them to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. They cannot be themselves openly; in practical terms, they must live behind a mask.
Hivos believes that all people should be able to have control over their own bodies and sexuality; that people should be able to express their sexual orientation and gender identity freely, without having to suffer threats, violence or exclusion. We are among the most daring organisations when it comes to sexual rights and diversity: even in our most conservative partner countries, we fight for people’s right to be who they are.
We have a long track record of supporting both small LGBTI initiatives and helping to build strong LGBTI movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Hivos supports LGBTI people and their organisations so that one day they will no longer need to live hidden lives.