May 17, 2014 is the 9th annual International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, the biggest LGBTI solidarity event in the world. May 17 actions are set to take place in over 120 countries today. Before 3am (UTC), at the start of the Day worldwide, various top global figures have already come out in support for May 17 around the world.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a statement late on Thursday, May 15, affirming his support for the global commemorations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, followed his statement, with her own IDAHOT op-ed, released Friday, May 16. UNDP, UNAIDS and other UN agencies have also released statements in support of the Day.
US President Barack Obama released a late statement on Friday night, affirming “as we commemorate the 10th annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we recommit ourselves to the fundamental belief that all people should be treated equally.”
US Secretary of State, John Kerry released a statement on Friday night, also affirming his support for the May 17 commemorations worldwide. And US Vice-President Joe Biden has also been tweeting his support for #IDAHOT.
Elsewhere, various heads of states have also already marked the Day. The President of Costa Rica raised the rainbow flag outside the Presidential house on Friday, whilst the Prime Minister of Malta has affirmed for IDAHOT, there is “no such thing as a la carte equality”. The embassies of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and the United States will be flying the rainbow flag in various countries today.
Global Call to Protect LGBTI Free Expression
The global focus issue this year is on Freedom of Expression, and countless activists, artists, civil society organisations, journalists, companies, schools, local authorities, musicians and writers have already been creating a wave of online & offline buzz around this focus.
#IDAHOT related messages have been flooding in on social media, with initial reports suggesting that over 100 million people may have already been reached by messages about May 17.
Over 170 organisations in the fields of gender, sexual and human rights and freedom of expression have signed a “Global Call to Leaders of the World to Protect LGBTI Free Expression” – a call that will be promoted via a May 17 Thunderclap due to go out at 12pm GMT today.
Today, 2.8 billion people worldwide live in one of the 81 countries, which still criminalize same-sex acts.
4.9 billion people – 2/3 of the world’s population – have their right to information or expression around sexual and gender diversity systematically censored by states.
Yet today’s global May 17 commemorations are set to send a clear signal that human rights for all are shared values for billions of people worldwide.
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