May 17, 2015 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHTB), and members of Toronto PFLAG joined together today with Toronto Mayor John Tory and other city hall constituents to raise the Rainbow Flag at City Hall. Last year former Mayor Rob Ford refused to attend the flag raising, but with Tory now at the helm of Toronto City Hall there’s a renewed connection with the LGBTQ community.

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is held on May 17 every year, and is a rallying event offering an opportunity for people to get together and reach out to one another. It 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.

In under a decade, May 17 has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale. The Day represents an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations in 2014. These mobilisations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is not one centralised campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.

The date of May 17th 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, Transphobia and Biphobia has received official recognition from several States, international institutions as the European Parliament, and by countless local authorities. Most United Nations agencies also mark the Day with specific events.

Stand in solidarity with Toronto Parents, Families, Friends & Allies (PFLAG) of the LGBTQ Community as we raise our voices against Homophobia and Transphobia in the City of Toronto and around the world with OUT and PROUD cities doing the same thing. Historically, Toronto PFLAG has done some great work locally making IDAHTB a special event here in Toronto.

In photo from left to right — Marla Green (VP of Toronto Pflag); Anne Creighton (President of Toronto PFLAG); Mayor John Tory; Michael Ain (Volunteer, Board of Directors)

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.