Here’s why commemorating IDAHOBIT matters
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is marked on May 17th every year to draw attention to the discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTIQ+ community around the world.
It is a day to acknowledge and address the challenges that queer people face in their daily lives and to work towards creating a more inclusive society.
South Africa is a country that has a complex history with regards to LGBTIQ+ rights. Despite being the first in the world to enshrine sexual orientation and gender identity protections in its constitution, discrimination and violence against queer people remains a significant issue.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) released a trends analysis report in 2020/2021, which revealed that sexual orientation discrimination has consistently ranked among the top three topics of complaints received since 2015.
In 2021 alone, there were 24 reported murders of LGBTIQ+ individuals in South Africa that were suspected to be related to the victims’ sexuality or gender identity or expression. It is important to mark IDAHOBIT in South Africa to draw attention to this issue and to work towards reducing violence against queer people.
Another important reason to mark IDAHOBIT in South Africa is to address the stigma and discrimination faced by LGBTIQ+ people in various aspects of their lives. Discrimination against queer people is prevalent in many areas of South African society, including in the workplace, healthcare, and education.
This stigma and discrimination can lead to social exclusion, economic hardship, and a range of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Education is an area where there is a significant need to address discrimination against queer people. Many queer students continue to face bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
This can have a significant impact on their mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being. Marking IDAHOBIT is an opportunity to highlight the need for more inclusive education policies and practices that create safe and supportive environments for queer students.
IDAHOBIT is an opportunity to draw attention to the specific challenges faced by trans and gender non-conforming people
The impact of discrimination and stigma is particularly pronounced for transgender and gender non-conforming people in South Africa. These individuals often face multiple forms of discrimination based on their gender identity and expression.
Transgender South Africans continue to encounter challenges in amending the gender marker on their identity documents, which impacts their opening a bank account, travelling and even getting a job.
All this can lead to social exclusion, economic hardship, and high levels of violence. Marking IDAHOBIT is an opportunity to draw attention to the specific challenges faced by trans and gender non-conforming people and to work towards creating more inclusive policies and practices that address these challenges.
IDAHOBIT is also an occasion to celebrate the contributions of the LGBTIQ+ community to society. Queer people have played a significant role in the struggle against apartheid and continue to contribute to the cultural, social, and economic fabric of South African society. Despite facing significant challenges, the resilience and creativity of the LGBTIQ+ community is a source of inspiration and hope.
Marking IDAHOBIT provides an opportunity to draw attention to the challenges faced by the LGBTIQ+ community in the country, including violence, discrimination, and stigma. It is also an opportunity to work towards creating more inclusive policies and practices that address these challenges and to celebrate the contributions of the queer community to South African society. By working together, we can create a society that values and respects diversity and where everyone is able to live free from discrimination and violence.
Leave a Reply