If you see rainbow flags flying today but aren’t sure why, then it’s important to remember the acronym IDAHOT.
To give it its official title, May 17 is International day against homophobia biphobia and transphobia and we’ve listed a few of the essential details below.
What is it?
Known by its acronym IDAHOT – or, in the UK, IDAHOBIT – the date draws attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people across the world.
In a little over a decade, the day has established itself for the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale.
Starting in 2005, it is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same sex acts are illegal – with a staggering 1,600 events from 1,280 organisations taking place in 2014.
Rather than taking the form of a centralised campaign, it is described as a chance to take action.
Why May 17?
The date is significant as it is the one chosen by the World Health Organisation to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Who is supporting it?
Flags are being displayed on institutions across the world, including MI6’s London headquarters,
In January, the domestic intelligence agency MI5 was named the country’s most gay-friendly employer by rights group Stonewall.
Britain’s spy agencies historically saw gay spies as a security risk, considering them much more vulnerable to blackmail, but dropped a hiring ban just over 25 years ago.
2016 has also seen the day supported by an official song and video.
Rachel Platten’s Fight Song provided a soundtrack to footage put together by the UN Free & Equal Campaign to support the day.
What is going on this year?
The day is celebrated across the world and for a full list of events from your country, it’s best to visit the official website.
The theme for 2016 is Mental Health & Well Being.
Events are taking place across the UK with highlights include a Big Rainbow Picnic in Leamington Spa, a day of performances and talks in Bradford and a public hate crime vigil in Manchester.
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