Skip to main content

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 2023 - 'Together always: united in diversity'

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBiT) is marked globally on 17 May every year to draw attention to the discrimination and violence experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.


*Please note this article discusses themes of violence and discrimination in relation to gender and sexuality, and will touch on issues of homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. Resources and support are included at the end of the article.

If you experience or witness homophobia, biphobia or transphobia you can access support and / or report (anonymously if preferred) through the Queen Mary Report + Support tool.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT) was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of 17 May was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization declassifying homosexuality as a mental disorder, which only happened in 1990.

The theme for IDAHOBiT this year is "Together always: united in diversity" and recognises that, in a time where the progress made by LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide is increasingly at risk, it is crucial to recognise the power of solidarity, community, and allyship across different identities, movements, and borders. 

Why is IDAHOBiT needed?

Many LGBTQIA+ people continue to experience bigotry, hatred and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.

Nationally recorded hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ people have increased in recent years: between 2020/21 and 2021/22 hate crimes report to the police (England and Wales) classified as being related to a monitored strand of ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘transgender’ increased by 41 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.

Galop, an LGBTQIA+ anti-violence charity, highlighted that demand for their hate crime support services, including the National LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline, had grown by 19 per cent in the six months prior to the 2021/22 figures being published. They also drew attention to the fact that every one of the 30,507 reports in the data represents an LGBTQIA+ person who has experienced abuse and violence for who they are.

Globally, the picture on LGBTQIA+ rights varies, with the importance and need for IDAHOBiT demonstrated by the fact it is currently marked in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.

It is also important to recognise the intersectional nature of identity and the impact this can have on LGBTQIA+ individuals.

For example, Linda Riley, DIVA publisher and the founder of Lesbian Visibility Week has been campaigning to specifically include lesbians in the IDAHOBiT initialism in recognition of lesbians facing a combination of both homophobia and misogyny.

People who identify as both LGBTQIA+ and an ethnic minority may suffer homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in combination with racism, while disabled members of the LGBTQIA+ community may also experience ableism.

What is Queen Mary doing about homophobia, biphobia and transphobia?

At Queen Mary we want to create an inclusive environment where LGBTQIA+ students and staff are celebrated; where everyone can be themselves and be treated with kindness, dignity and respect.

Our Strategy 2030 sets out Queen Mary’s commitment and ambition to be the most inclusive university of its kind, anywhere; realising this vision means being a university of choice for LGBTQIA+ people to study and work.

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia can take many forms such as name-calling, derogatory jokes, intrusive or hostile questioning, threatening to ‘out’ someone, as well as unwanted physical contact and violence. It can happen verbally, in writing, in person or virtually (eg by email, messages, social media). Whatever form it takes, it is always unacceptable.

Republished last year, our Trans Inclusion Statement of Commitment 2022 [PDF 237KB] lays out the University’s balanced approach and position to trans inclusion. As well as synthesising our legal duties it further incorporates our Values (Inclusive, Proud, Ambitious, Collegial, Ethical).

If you experience or witness homophobia, biphobia or transphobia you can report it (anonymously if you like) and / or access support through the Queen Mary Report + Support tool. Full details of our Preventing Harassment, Bullying and Hate Crime and our Dignity at Work and Study procedure are available online.

Incidents of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia may constitute a criminal offence as a hate incident or hate crime under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Criminal Justice Act 2003. If you believe you have been a victim of a hate incident or hate crime you are within your rights to contact the police.

As a student at Queen Mary you may wish to reach out to one of the following people / groups for support and advice:

There are also lots of external organisations who can offer support who are listed at the bottom of the page. 

What can you do to help combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia?

If you feel safe to do so, you can be an active bystander and call it out. Make it clear that you won’t tolerate this kind of behaviour in any form.

You can find out more about the LGBTQIA+ community by accessing the following:

Further information, resources and support:

  • East London Out Project (ELOP): a local charity offering a range of support services to LGBTQ+ communities including counselling.
  • Tower Hamlets LGBT Community Forum: a project that aims to bring together LGBT+ people (and allies) who live, work, study or socialise in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
  • Galop: an LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity, providing support services relating to hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
  • Switchboard, LGBT+ helpline: provides information, support and referral service for LGBTQ+ and their friends, parents or family.
  • Gendered Intelligence: a charity aiming to increase understanding of gender diversity, specialising in supporting young trans people under 21.
  • Mermaids: supports trans and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.
  • GIRES: works to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages.
  • Stonewall: campaigns for LGBTQIA+ equality
  • Stop Hate UK: provides independent, confidential and accessible reporting and support for victims, witnesses 



Back to top