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Friday, 15 May 2009

IDAHO a-go-go

Every day, almost everywhere around the world, transsexual, transgender, intersex people face violence, abuse, rape, torture and hate crimes, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

“The only motive: they are not conforming to social stereotypes about the way they should appear and behave in society as men or women,” says an ILGA news release about IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia.

The organisation continues:

Be it out of ignorance, prejudice, fear or hate, Trans people overwhelmingly face daily discrimination, which results in social exclusion, poverty and poor health care, with little prospects for employment.

Far from protecting Trans citizens, States and International bodies reinforce social transphobia through short sighted negligence or reactionary politics:

To have their preferred gender identity recognised by society, if at all possible, they have to undergo forced sterilization or other major surgery. Yet, States do little to ensure Trans people get proper access to the health care they want or need. Adding insult to injustice, the World Health Organisation still classifies them as “mentally disordered”.

On May 17th 1990 (almost 20 years ago!,) the same World Health Organisation took homosexuality off the list of mental disorders. This is the reason why May 17th was chosen to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the IDAHO. Actions now take place every year in more than 50 countries.

On this symbolic day, a group of organisations working to promote fundamental human rights for lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, intersex and bisexual people launches an international appeal to the WHO to take transsexualism off the list of mental disorders.

The appeal also calls for all states to enforce legislation that ensures respect for trans people’s human rights, and calls for the UN human rights bodies to effectively address the situation.

This appeal has already been signed by more than 300 organisations in more than 75 countries across all world regions, from Fiji to Kyrgyzstan, China to the USA, Serbia to Brazil.

Major international institutions have expressed their support, such as UNAIDS, the International and European Trade Union Confederations, the International Gay and Lesbian Law Association, the Gay and Lesbian Intergroupe of the European Parliament, the Global Justice Ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches or the Sydney Mardi Gras. So have political parties such as the French socialist, communist and green parties or the Meretz Party in Israel.

And we are proud of the support of three Nobel Prize laureates, Elfriede Jelinek, Françoise Barré-Finoussi and Luc Montagnier, and of other people who have signed the text, like Doudou Diène, former rapporteur special in the UN on racism (Senegal), Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, Gérard Onesta, vice-president of the European Parliament, Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Paris, several ministers or former ministers, and many members of Parliament around the world.

We now invite all citizens, activists, organisations, political parties, local authorities and all other concerned groups or individuals to join this appeal by signing the petition on, where you will also find the complete up to date list of signatures.

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