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Some are in fact born as both

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. A day which marks the occasion in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases.

The day was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.

Since then the Day has grown in both scope and depth. In 2013, actions around the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia took place in almost 120 countries. In the United Kingdom alone in 2013, almost 200 events took place around the Day, whilst in Brazil just under 120 events were registered one month before May 17.

In short, in less than a decade, the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia has established itself as the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale.

The International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia is not one centralised campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can seize to take action.

The date of May 17 was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia has received official recognition from several States and such international institutions as the European Parliament, and by countless local authorities. Most United Nations agencies also mark the Day with specific events.

LGBTI organizations, governments, cities, human rights organizations, corporations and celebrities have all taken action on May 17 to:

  • Draw media attention to the issue of homophobia and transphobia
  • Organise events which mobilize public opinion
  • Demand attention from policymakers and engage in lobbying activities
  • Network with like-minded organizations and develop new partnerships, at home or beyond
  • Mobilize existing constituencies and address new audiences.