Today, the White House released a statement in support of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
In the statement, President Biden said that he and wife, Dr. Jill Biden, “are proud to recognize the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia,” adding that much has changed over the years, “not only in our laws, but in the hearts and minds of the American people.”
However, he noted that “both COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen the economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people — and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community, specifically transgender women and girls of color. Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services.”
IDAHOBIT, which is celebrated on May 17th, began in 2004 to commemorate the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a mental health disorder. It’s used to draw visibility to the ongoing obstacles LGBTQ+ persons around the world face. It is celebrated in over 130 countries, and in 37 where homosexuality is still criminalized. Although there are no centralized events to celebrate IDAHOBIT, local events are held by communities around the world.
The President closed his remarks by calling on the the United States Senate to pass the Equality Act, which he had previously promised to sign into law within the first 100 days of his presidency while on the campaign trail. He also vowed to “continue to engage with allies and partners to advance the human rights of LGBTQI+ people here at home and in all corners of the world.”