As in previous years, the United Kingdom saw over 100 events in all parts of the UK in celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Events were registered in at least 34 towns and cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Actions of the most diverse kinds were held, including street demonstrations, the launch of new legal initiatives, arts installations and exhibitions, prayers against homophobia, guerrilla gardening, street art, dance, conferences, film screenings, sing-in events and many, many more. And, once again, countless local authorities, government buildings, schools, police stations and companies flew the rainbow flag for May 17, up and down the country.
For a full panorama of UK events for May 17 please access the IDAHO UK website.
Some highlights for IDAHOT 2014 in the UK included:
A cross-party coalition of 13 UK Members of Parliament tabled an Early Day Motion (on April 8, 2014) formally welcoming the IDAHOT 2014, and calling on the government to move forward debate on the international classification of trans identities in terms of mental health conditions.
The Pansy Project, who on May 17 was in Brussels, Belgium, had also planned ‘guerilla gardening’ sessions in Brighton, Bristol, London, as well as internationally for IDAHOT. Together with LUSH Cosmetics Company, the Pansy Project organised for employees at LUSH shops in the three cities to plant pansies as the sites of homophobic hate crimes, and to promote debate about the actions with their customers. (More Info)
Once again this year, local authorities up and down the country have answered the Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s campaign call in ‘Flying the Flag’ for May 17, like in Bury where the city council raised the flag on May 16. (More Info).
Barclays has put the message for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on all 3,400 of its ‘hole in the wall’ machines. The screen shows a couple, with rainbow-painted fingernails and bracelets, joining hands and reveals that Barclays is working with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation to spread the word about IDAHO. The bank’s ATMs in the UK see 685,000 transactions a day, meaning the message will reach millions over the course of the seven-day campaign, culminating on IDAHO. More info here
In a pioneering and widely celebrated move, Liverpool Football Club marked May 17 this year with a series of events, including a discussion with community leaders, a photoshoot outside the club, and a guided tour of the grounds. The family of murdered local gay teenager, Michael Causer, were guests of honour at the events.
The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Gary Millar and Paul Amann, Liverpool FC Supporters’ Committee LGBT representative both made short addresses to the guests about the importance of IDAHOBIT.
Paul Amann said: “This year’s marking of IDAHOBIT by Liverpool FC is another first and I am proud that the club is choosing to affirm its commitment to LGBT people and recognise our place in the LFC Family.”
Michelle Kirk, equality and inclusion advisor at Liverpool Football Club, added: “Liverpool FC is committed to promoting equality and diversity and wanted to mark this day with the key organisations it works alongside to help promote inclusion and raise awareness.”
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation also launched a variety of initiatives for IDAHOBIT as part of their new campaign ‘The Rainbow Connection’ – to raise awareness of hate crime against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGB&T) people and to encourage reporting of hate crime. Events included:
- DUST OFF YOUR RAINBOW FLAGS: Rainbow Flag Flying from businesses, organisations and individuals, May 16-19
- IDAHOBIT 2014 HATE CRIME VIGIL: Special vigil in Sackville Gardens with guest speakers from the local community, May 17
- BAKE THE RAINBOW, SHARE THE RAINBOW: Encouraging people to bake their own ‘rainbow creation’ and collect donations for victims of Anti-LGBT hate crime
- LGF HATE CRIME REPORTING ‘WEB-APP’: The app was launched on May 17
- FILM SCREENING OF CALL ME KUCHU: May 16 at the LGF
Manchester Pride also hosted various events for the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia 2014, as part of an ‘IDAHOT weekend’, including ‘Run with Pride’ to help raise money for the Manchester Pride Community Fund, ‘Discuss with Pride’- a debate around the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the media, and ‘Drink with Pride’, a cooperation with local bars and restaurants to host a competition for the best Manchester Pride cocktail.
With the title ‘Living in Prophetic Hope‘ and under the theme “Moving from Fear and Hopelessness to Spirit-led Action in Deeply Homophobic Communities”, various LGBTI christian groups came together in London, for a day’s workshop of prayer, film, reflection and talks. They also highlighted the role of christian churches in anti-LGBT rhetorics and violence, as the organisers stated ahead of the event: “It is our own Christian churches that play a crucial role in supporting homophobic rhetoric and policies of hatred in countries like Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia. Homophobia is also still very much present in the UK, as recent statements from the Anglican House of Bishops sadly attest. It is woven tightly into racism and classism; it feeds people’s irrational fears about immigrants, and ongoing repression within immigrant communities.”
On May 16, in celebration of IDAHOT Article 19 also co-ordinated a special meeting at the Free Word Centre in London with the theme ‘Speak Up and Speak Out! Freedom to express sexual orientation and gender identity’. GALHA, the LGBT Humanists organisation joined Article 19 in the preparations of the event. The evening brought together activists, policy experts and LGBT people for a discussion about the challenges LGBT people face in exercising their right to freedom of expression worldwide.
Meanwhile, Kaleidoscope Trust hosted it’s annual IDAHOT lecture, on Thursday May 15, with guest speaker Maurice Tomlinson: ‘Maurice is the Legal Advisor, Marginalized Groups for AIDS Free World and has been involved in HIV/AIDS and LGBT activism in the Caribbean for over 14 years. He is at the forefront of the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality, leading legal challenges across the region to have disciminatory laws repealed… In 2012 he was awarded the inaugural David Kato Vision and Voice Award, which celebrates the life and work of murdered Ugandan LGBT activist, David Kato…’. The organisers live-tweeted the event, so that everyone around the world could follow the lecture on Twitter. Parts of the lecture have been documented in this video:
Also, Trans*tastic is a mini film festival with over 20 movies from Trans* filmmakers and on Trans* issues which took place on May 10 and 17. It included shorts, features, documentaries and music videos on activism, community, love, trauma, dis_ability, friendships, family, coming-out, immigration and much more. All the money raised from this festival went towards Trans* health care. The programme on May 17 included:
- Trauma, Resistance+Healing: Nine short films talking about past and present Trans*discrimination, resistance and films as one way of coping and healing.
- Fiction, Arts+Animation: Nine short films by and about Trans* filmmakers, musicians and spoken word poets.
- Austin Unbound: A programme in American and British Sign Language around the topics of coming out, deafness, self-discovery and much more.
The district of Barking and Dagenham for the first time ever celebrated the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, with an event that was especially addressed at younger people. There was a film screening of the Stonewall film FIT about a group of 6 teenagers all in the same class from London who struggle with stereotyping, suffer homophobic bullying or are homophobic, on Saturday 17 May from 12 noon to 4pm with free popcorn and snacks. After the film there was space to discuss, connect and network. More details here.
Another highlight was the INCITE! IDAHO special at the Phoenix Artist Club on May 14-15. Maureen Duffy, ‘National Lesbian Treasure’, out since the early 60s, and author of 30 books, read poetry that illuminated her life. The event also featured for the very first time Trudy Howson’s new poem ‘IDAHO 14’. Also Pride in London was there with information on how local people could get involved with this year’s event. Afterwards there was a open mic event, and live in-house jazz. This cultural/social event was hosted by poet TRUDY HOWSON.
Sing with Pride, the Norwich based choir from the LGBT community for everyone organised a singing workshop to celebrate IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) at Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane Norwich.
It was an exhilarating day of harmony singing for everyone who wants to sing – whether you think you can or not! 20 people were taught by Chris in his unique style with lashings of humour, oodles of fun and a firm but gentle hand on the steering wheel!
We learned a range of songs from around the world, in the original languages, in glorious unaccompanied harmony: African, gospel, Eastern European, New Zealand Maori and more.
Everything was taught by ear and the sound we created together was amazing – we even went for a little busk at the end!
Sexual Health Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Museums Sheffield in partnership with Sheffield City Council had orgainsed speeches and a One Minute Noise action, to raise awareness of how LGBT-phobias impact on community health and well-being. Later on May 17 there was also an ‘IDAHOT Live Late event’. ‘A chance to celebrate and will include music, talks, promenade theatre and arts activities from the Sheena Amos Youth Trust and a Big Bingo show with Timberlina and DJ Hey Baylen. The Big Bingo show is a riotous, hilarious rock-n-roll bingo adventure featuring spontaneous dance routines, sing-alongs, topical rants and terrific prizes…’ The event included a exhibition called ‘Living My Life’ and has also been exhibited in clinic reception areas, conference suites, university sites, health summits and other events integral to key dates such as LGBT History Month. The exhibition has gained overwhelming national praise for it’s positive messages and impact on the lives of trans people.
Brighton & Hove
Community groups from Brighton & Hove have joined for a day of events for IDAHOBIT, including music performances – together with The Brighton & Hove Rainbow Chorus – as well as community discussions, and a One Minute Noise against Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic hate crimes. Find more details here.
The program was as following:
- Procession of the Rainbow Flag
- Performances from The Brighton & Hove Rainbow Chorus.
- A minute’s ‘noise’ to remember the international victims of homo, bi and transphobic violence; (so bring a whistle, horn, bell, tambourine, trombone etc to make some noise!)
- Raising of the Rainbow flag and release of confetti as a symbol of hope for the future.
- Speeches from key personalities within the LGBT community.
The University of Brighton’s Equality & Diversity Unit has also commemorated IDAHOBIT with a screening of the film, ‘Bette Bourne: It Goes with the Shoes’, on May 22, which also formed part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.
With acclaimed playwright Mark Ravenhill as a guide, the film sheds light on a hidden part of gay history and paints an uproarious and moving portrait of an engaging and charismatic gay hero; from the early meetings of the Gay Liberation Front; to the first mass gay protests in Europe; to life in a gay drag commune and a European road trip with drag superstars, The Bloolips, a real life, Priscilla Queen of the Desert style adventure.
Northampton Borough Council and the LGBTQ People’s Forum had invited to the Guildhall to make some noise on May 16 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with speeches and noise. Councillors and representatives from community groups joined the action with speeches and making noise against Anti-LGBT violence.
Hart Gables & Middlesbrough community Pride have teamed together to create an event in support of IDAHO 2014 on May 17 which included
- Balloon Release, Mima, Centre Square, Middlesbrough
- Constantine Lecture Theatre, Teesside University Campus a film showing of BETTE BOURNE – It goes with the shoes
- ‘Equality Climb’ Roseberry Topping – As part of the ‘flying the flag event’
At Birmingham University, LGBTQ Association committee representatives were outside SPAR in the Guild of Students from 11am-3pm on May 15 with information and resources about IDAHOBIT.
In commemoration of IDAHOT, Edinburgh presented its first ever Dyke March through the city centre. Jo Clifford, Edinburgh playwright and performer, also gave a speech at the march. After the march, there was also an open event, the IDAHO Pride Fundraiser EXTRAVAGANZA at the Teviot Row House with wine and fun activities to celebrate equality and to pay tribute to the people who fight for it.
As part of an Ireland-wide set of religious services in commemoration of the IDAHOT 2014, Changing Attitude Ireland (C.A.I.), a Church of Ireland organisation with ecumenical friends arranged events in Belfast, Derry and Newry, next to other actions in Republic of Ireland.
In Derry, there was also a afternoon of activities which took place at the Cafe Soul and included family-friendly activities such as balloon modelling, face painting etc. With the event, the organisers intented to bring people together to celebrate diversity and acceptance, to raise awareness of homophobia and transphobia and to include Derry/Londonderry in this years IDAHOT global celebrations. LGBT Northern Ireland is a voluntary organisation established to support and help people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and their families. For more details on LGBT Northern Ireland/IDAHOT Derry go to their Facebook page.
Aside from the religious service, in Belfast there was also a week of events for May 17. The Northern Ireland Anti Homophobia and Transphobia Week 2014 was launched at Belfast City Hall on Monday 12th May at 10.30am. There was a series of events for the following days, including the launch of LGB/T Homelessness Research Report, Walk a Mile in my Shoes with Strabane & Lifford LGBT Group, a panel discussion on dealing with the issues of homophobia, transphobia and queer kinship in Northern Irish society through arts, culture and social engagement and many more.