The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – IDAHOT, is one of the most important dates to mobilize communities to protect, promote and defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. It removed homosexuality as a formal psychiatric diagnosis in 1992. IDAHOT is commemorated every year on the 17th May across the world.
The theme for the 2017 IDAHOT focuses on FAMILY. The role of families in the well-being of their LGBTI family members and the respect of the rights of LGBTI families (rainbow families). We hope that this year’s theme will:
- Strengthen the visibility and voice of LGBTI parents.
- Strengthen the visibility and voice of Rainbow families that would advance the recognition and rights of LGBTI persons.
- Strengthen the visibility, voice and support for children and relatives of LGBTI persons and creating a socially inclusive and non-discriminatory society
- Reclaim “family values” such as Botho; to progressively understand the need for humanity towards addressing LGBTI rights issues and those around them.
The Botswana community is very family oriented and all traditional gatherings and celebrations involves families. Family contributes to the core fiber of our being and existence. They are our source of love, protection and comfort. It is where tradition, norms and values are passed on from one generation to the next.
For many LGBTI in Botswana, the same cannot be said about this sentiment. Being an LGBTI person is still an enormous battle – it is emotionally draining, physically straining and economically challenging and contributes to various inner and outward conflicts in the daily lives of those in these situations. Working with the LGBTI community over the years has revealed that the family still needs a lot of awareness and understanding on diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity and the challenges faced by the LGBTI community.
We encourage Batswana to recognise that families are different and interact with one another differently. We have blended families, extended families, single parent families and even same – sex families. It is important that we support, accept, love and protect our LGBTI family members