IDAHoT: Does Mainstream Society really care?

Posted by Wayves Volunteer 10/06/2013

By Sara Mukherji

The first International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHo) took place on May 17, 2005; transphobia was added to the name of the campaign in 2009 and it’s now known as IDAHoT.* Every year, in Halifax, we mark this day through a rally at Grand Parade. Wonderful speeches are delivered and a large group of people stand to hear words of wisdom and inspiration from various speakers.

Does this message to eliminate discrimination against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community really mean anything to individual who do not identify as LGBT or as community allies?

Unfortunately, mainstream society in Nova Scotia does not talk about homophobia and transphobia and its eradication in Nova. The average person only looks at economic survival and maintaining the status quo but does not truly care about the plight of the LGBT Community.

We rarely see any straight members of our society standing by our side to support the end of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgendered. Children of most straight families are not taught to show respect for their fellow LGBT citizens.

Unfortunately, the LGBT Community, despite all the media coverage for the IDAHoT Day are still seen as “other” by society and not as equal, contributing members.

IDAHoT must become part of the vocabulary of every household in order to eradicate discrimination against the LGBT community. For instance, recycling and composting have become a part of everyone’s life across Canada, and environmental responsibility is becoming an ethical and moral obligation. In some communities, a person failing to compost or properly dispose of recyclables risks being fined.

Hatred against members of the LGBT Community must be taken seriously, not lightly. Society has come a long way by designating May 17 as an international reminder to combat Homophobia and Transphobia. However, to end hatred and discrimination against LGBT people more than a rally for community members and a few allied individuals is required. It must be more than brief footage of IDAHoT on the six o’clock news.

If people commit crimes of hate against members of the LGBT community, whether of physical violence or insulting, harassing remarks, then they should face the full penalties available under Canadian law, including fines and imprisonment. Every member of society must have instilled in them a healthy fear about engaging in acts of homophobia and transphobia. That is the only way we will truly end such discrimination for good. Otherwise it will never happen.

* Editor’s Note: The first public rally in Halifax took place in 2007. The following year, the Halifax community added transphobia to the title of its event. The photo is of participants at the 2012 IDAHoT Rally in Halifax. 

Photo: By Anita Louise Martinez shows the Raging Grannies singing out against homophobia and transphobia at the 2013 IDAHoT Rally in Halifax.

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