International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Today is May 17th, which means that it is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. If you’re wondering why May 17th was chosen, it’s to commemorate May 17th 1990, which is when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of “mental illnesses”.


Please remember at although attitudes in the UK are much more enlightened than they were only a few years ago, homophobic violence still happens with distressing frequency and in over 70 countries around the world being gay is still a criminal offence.

Even if you don’t identify yourself as LGBT+ then this should still be an important day for you. Here, for example, is a handy guide produced by Pride in STEM on how to be an ally:

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19 Responses to “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia”

  1. I wonder if Indonesia intentionally chose this day to sentence a gay couple to 85 lashes.

  2. With regard to the first and last points on the flags (“Learn about LGBT+” and “Accept your limitations”):

    If “+” includes polyamorous people, is my impression correct that these are much less accepted than LGB folks, both within the population at large and within (at least) the LGB community? (I don’t think that any lack of acceptance has anything to do with Muslim-style polygyny; that is a complete red herring here.)

    Other than lack of discrimination (i.e. disadvantaging someone for some irrelevant quality—which should be avoided for all people, of course), what do the T people expect from society?

    • telescoper Says:

      I don’t know, but I’m guessing that not being beaten up would help…

      • I file that under lack of discrimination (disadvantaging someone for some irrelevant quality).

      • telescoper Says:

        I don’t think it’s as simple as that. People get beaten up because of their race, but the solution to that is not to beat everyone up regardless of the colour of the skin.

      • telescoper Says:

        It has always intrigued me why some folk are so scared of transgender or gender-fluid people….especially in the USA where the introduction of gender-neutral bathrooms seems to have caused a national panic. Many European countries have had them for years.

      • Sometimes people are afraid of things because they don’t understand them. I think that the idea of transgender is more difficult for many to understand than L, G, B, queer, polyamorous, etc. First, the LGB community has been very helpful in promoting the idea that people shouldn’t be judged based on what group they (are perceived to) belong to, but on what they say and what they do. Four such groups are the two traditional genders and two conventional sexual orientations, and the correct solution is to treat people gender-neutrally and sexuality-neutrally (unless one is interested in a sexual relation with them, perhaps). “Trans” means transitioning from one to the other, with the wish and goal to be treated as a member of the group to which one is transitioning—at least this is the impression which many people have. But in light of the above, what does that mean in practice?

        Second, though the pendulum might be swinging too far the other way now, another result of equal-opportunity and equal-rights campaigns has been the eradication of the idea that there are male and female brains (in the sense that women can’t do physics, which is on a par with white people can’t play the blues or straight people can’t dance). However, the whole idea of transgenderism makes sense—again, at least the impression which many have—only if there is in some sense a male brain and a female brain, since otherwise one can’t be trapped in the “wrong” body. (Leaving aside here the few real intersexual people, in the old days often surgically and hormonally “fixed” right after birth; this is really a separate issue.)

        In both cases, the impression can arise that the idea of transgenderism reinforces what are otherwise deemed, especially by the LGB community, to be antiquated gender roles.

        As my history teacher used to say: just an observation, not a judgement.

  3. “People get beaten up because of their race, but the solution to that is not to beat everyone up regardless of the colour of the skin.”

    I think that both are statements are somewhat ambiguous. I think we agree, though, that the colour of one’s skin is never a reason to beat someone up, nor is any aspect of sexuality or gender.

  4. “It has always intrigued me why some folk are so scared of transgender or gender-fluid people….especially in the USA where the introduction of gender-neutral bathrooms seems to have caused a national panic. Many European countries have had them for years.”

    First, people are afraid of all kinds of things in the USA, or in Saudia Arabia, so that’s not really a good point of comparison.

    I agree that gender-neutral bathrooms (I was in one when I gave a talk in Sussex in 2015—not that I gave the talk in the bathroom, though) should be the norm everywhere. In fact, everything should be gender-neutral. “Separate but equal” was never a good idea. Gender-neutral bathrooms are common in Scandinavia, but public saunas are usually separated (where in German- and Dutch-speaking countries they are not, though as in Scandinavia nudity is obligatory), which makes it rather difficult for the politically correct Scandinavians to find a box for everyone (the best solution being to get rid of the boxes).

    In the USA, I think it is less the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms (though I am sure that that is more than many people can take), but rather the right of a person to choose which non-gender-neutral bathroom to use, especially if this is based only on what one “identifies” as. Yes, if everything were gender-neutral there would be no problem, but given that this is not the case (and won’t be in the USA in our lifetimes), on what should this decision be based and who has the power to decide? If transgender people are allowed to decide for themselves, but other people aren’t, this is a type of discrimination which I think understandably ruffles a few feathers.

  5. Considering the current topics here, I’m reminded of the following words of wisdon:

    What else is there? Sex and physics.

    —Dennis Overbye

    • At least music!

      Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not music, music is the best.

      —Frank Zappa

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