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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

International Day Against Homophobia: some 'highlights'

Delivery of petition on IDAHO against hate crimes to Brazil Senate. Pic by Senator Marta Senadora.

By Paul Canning

There is a reason I wrote 'highlights' that way. Because there was far too much going on and because it's far too early to even attempt to catalogue or even report in any real way on everything that happened yesterday, the sixth International Day Against Homophobia.

Except this.

It was near global. Something happened in over 70 countries, and for those watching the @IDAHOMOPHOBIA Twitter stream this had to be the #1 impression.

So, some moments which happened to grab my attention.

In St Petersberg, Russian activists held a 'Rainbow Flashmob' despite threats from violent fascists: Here's the video. These people are brave. As are those in Minsk who were detained (video) and in Montenegro attacked.

In Beirut, activists plastered the streets with posters with slogans in Arabic and English like 'Normal: the Lebanese law disagrees' and 'Religion was all about love; I was wrong'.

In Jamaica the American Ambassador spoke out in an Editorial in a prominent newspaper against homophobia. Hillary Clinton had also made a statement “on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States".

In Kisumu, a city in the Rift valley in Kenya, the gay community, sex workers, health care providers, the police and legal representatives came together to mark IDAHO

Transgender people published a map documenting more than 600 hate murders.

In Brazil a 100,000 strong petition against hate crimes was delivered to the Senate. There were demonstrations in the Phillipines - Batasang Pambansa had "colorful rainbow costumes" -
and Chile.

In France €700k worth of IDAHO TV advertising with celebs saying "yes to Equal Rights" and "no to homophobia" ran for a 11m audience.

Check out the global webportal of the day

There was something happening in China, in Nigeria, in Cuba, in Indonesia - but there were gaps: much of North Africa and the Middle East, Central Asia and a lot of Africa.

Yesterday's map of amazing events showed us where activists and communities are coming together - and where they are not.

One other point. There was another big gap in events for IDAHO: the USA. If it had not been for the participation of Lady GaGa as guest Editor of the Metro newspapers I wonder whether it would have rated much mention at all, whether the American LGBT community would have been aware of what was happening throughout the rest of the World. What was igniting the rest of the world.

Maybe it's to do with IDAHO being the brainchild of a French man? I hope not. It's America's loss.

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