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IDAHOBIT 2024: Global Perspectives on LGBTQIA+ Discrimination.

Updated: 1 day ago

The fight to end LGBTQIA+ discrimination is far from over. We speak to members of the WCS Collective about their experiences with homophobia, biphobia and transphobia across the globe.

A photo of 10 members of the WCS Collective, sitting outside. They wear clothes in shades of pink, yellow, orange and grey.


IDAHOBIT or International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is an international awareness day that serves as a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to stand together, organise and raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ discrimination across the world, including violence, oppression and other violations of our human rights. 


Progress towards the eradication of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not linear, and countries which have previously led the way for LGBTQIA+ equality are not exempt from backsliding. The UK, which in 2015 held the top spot on ILGA-Europe’s ranking of European countries upholding LGBTQIA+ rights, has fallen to 16th place, in large part due to the government’s continued hostility towards and refusal to protect trans people. In 2023, 600 anti-trans bills were introduced across the US, targeting transgender legal recognition, healthcare access and the right to exist in public, with an additional 550 bills having been introduced in 2024 so far.


The legalisation of same-sex marriage is sometimes treated as the final obstacle in a country’s journey towards equality for the LGBTQIA+ community, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the multitude of issues that Queer people continue to face globally include: 


  1. Conversion Therapy: Despite scientific consensus that conversion therapy causes great harm and can amount to torture, it is still legal in most countries.


  1. Legal Gender Recognition: While it varies between countries, transgender people broadly face dehumanising, invasive and costly processes to having their gender legally recognised - or lack the option entirely. In some places, recognition requires that trans people be forcibly sterilised. 


  1. Healthcare Inequalities: Gender affirming care reduces the risk of suicide in transgender young people by 73% but we are continuing to see bans and restrictions placed on it. The LGBTQ+ community also experiences disparities in other areas, including sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, substance abuse, mental health conditions, eating disorders, breast and cervical cancers, and heart disease.


  1. The Right To Adopt: Same sex adoption is currently only legal in 53 countries, so there is a long way to go until queer couples have equal rights on a global scale to build their families the way they see fit. 


  1. Violence & Murder: Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people are rising, with trans women of colour continuing to be the demographic most at risk of experiencing fatal violence.


Our community in Barcelona is made of LGBTQIA+ people from all over the globe, each of whom has had to learn how to embrace their identity while moving through a Queer-hostile world. We asked a handful of them to share their perspectives on how homophobia, biphobia and transphobia have impacted their lives as global citizens:




"Homophobia to me represents that constant state of alert that is activated in my brain when I am in any public space while embracing my identity as a queer person. No matter how inclusive the city is, I can never fully relax and let my guard down.. because that could mean that I end up verbally or physically attacked by intolerant people. Living in places, like Barcelona, where there is a strong sense of queer communities makes it easier as we look after each other to ensure that we are all safe." - Gonzalo Parra

“Anti-queerness has made me more proud of who I am and more confident in showing it - I like making bigots uncomfortable! I selectively hid parts of myself in my 20s but now I'm 36, I can't be bothered anymore - 'take or leave it' is my attitude. I love seeing that approach in our community too, being unapologetically ourselves. Queer movements in India inspire me the most - and that's made me even more proud of my heritage.  On the flipside, having intersecting identities and growing up in many cultures exposed me to our community's ignorance about each other's realities. Biphobia is worse coming from our community than from straight people, because we assume we'll be each other's allies - and that's not always the case sadly.“ - Sanjukta Moorthy

“The global fight to end LGBTQIA+ discrimination is sadly far from over. We must urgently examine and respond to the ways that transphobic narratives are challenging our notions of intra-community care and allyship.” - Michael Stephens


“Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia have deeply influenced my life as a trans woman from the Philippines who moved to Barcelona initially to study. My transition began unexpectedly after arriving here, revealing my true self in an environment where discrimination persists. In the Philippines, societal disapproval, particularly influenced by religious and family norms within a Catholic society, shaped my experiences before coming to Barcelona. Here, navigating transphobia remains challenging, especially in social interactions. Despite these difficulties, I proudly assert my identity and find support within Barcelona's LGBTQ+ community, advocating for acceptance and positive change. This journey of self-discovery continues to shape my experiences as a global citizen.” - Shimar Guyo

“As a queer global citizen and a third culture kid, I’ve been impacted by homophobia through pain dialogue, attacks within my family, and roadblocks for my career. It’s given me a deeper empathy for others which pushed me into my work as a community organizer, public speaker, and socialite. I decide to be a beam of bright light to counteract the negative energy put out in the world to harm us. It makes me bold, outspoken, and fearfully motivated to move society forward, one connection at a time.” - Kevin Hawkins




Queerphobia (and weight stigma, racism, sexism, misogyny) used to be pretty hard on me, regardless of the country I lived in. The impact was especially devastating when I witnessed it directed at others or when it lingered silently rather than being loud.  I've turned this adversity into a strength by cultivating supportive networks through intersectional advocacy and activism, promoting art, and improving representation in mainstream spaces, for queer women and minorities within our community. Instead of seeking validation in a society that demands conformity to masculine, heteronormative, or patriarchal norms, I shifted my focus inward. Through this journey, I discovered that I am not alone — I am present, I am thriving, and I am part of a vibrant and resilient community.” - Sevi Koppe


“The never-ending threat of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia mean that I’m forever reminded of the need to do a safety check for myself and others in many everyday situations. Sometimes this takes the form of calling out and challenging the language and views of others and unfortunately almost as frequently, this includes making sure that the physical safety of myself and others around me is as assured as possible. Whilst the queer community have made many gains in the fight for recognition and equality, almost as soon as a gain occurs, an act of oppression occurs somewhere else to remind us of the fragility of our situation.” - Chris McDonnell

“[Homophobia] makes me aware that I am even more of a minority when I look around the world. On the other hand, slowly things are changing, which is a positive. Not fast enough,  but change takes time!” - Frank Johnson




"I lost 12 years of my life to worrying about whether or not the people I love will be capable of loving the person I needed to transition into. Eventually I immigrated to a country where no one knew me and therefore no one was attached to who they thought I was, only then did I allow myself to transition." - Elliot Theodor

“Being a bisexual woman of color has meant moving through a lot of spaces over the course of my life where I didn’t fit in and could never belong. It wasn’t until I moved to Spain in 2008 from Detroit, Michigan that I was able to fully explore my sexuality and come out as bisexual to my mom. Living in a queer friendly city like Barcelona has really helped me make connections and form relationships with people who accept me for who I am. I still encounter biphobia from time to time, but I always feel safe to speak openly about my identity here. The only place I’ve felt even more at home is Melbourne, Australia. Everywhere I went was so visibly welcoming and inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community. It’s unlike anything I had ever experienced before, and I wish it were the norm for us all.” - Jolinda Johnson

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is far from over, but what can we all do to make the world a more inclusive and hospitable place for LGBTQIA+ people?


  • Get informed: Understand the state of legal protections for LGBTQ+ people in your country. Check out this helpful page by the Human Rights Watch on the Current LGBT Laws from Around the World.

  • Further LGBTQ+ rights: Protest, vote and campaign for better protections for LGBTQ+ people.

  • Practise Queer Allyship: Have a zero tolerance approach to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in your workplace, social circle and family life.

  • Take our LGBTQ+ Inclusion Course: As an ally or LGBTQ+ community member, our LGBTQ+ Inclusion Course is designed to strengthen your understanding of issues facing the LGBTQ+ Community on a global scale and how to advocate for inclusion in your workplace.

  • Reach out: Ask the Queer people around you what they need and how you can best help them.

  • Get involved: Continue to educate yourself about issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. Why not attend a We Create Space webinar or even bring us into your workplace to educate those around you too?

  • Keep learning: Utilise our resources page where you’ll find valuable information and tools to support you on your journey of self-discovery, well-being, leadership, and allyship.



 

While you're here...


Did you know we consult with Businesses, ERGs and Change-Leaders providing bespoke corporate solutions? Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations. Find out more here.


We also organise FREE community events throughout the year! We offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!

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