16 May, 2016
Tomorrow people all across the world will be celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), including us here at Ben & Jerry’s! We’ve been supporting equal rights for all for over 37 years now, and our commitment to the LGBTI community is grounded in our company’s core values.
Back in 1989, we were the first major employer in Vermont to offer health insurance to domestic partners of employees, which included same sex couples, and we haven’t spent one minute regretting it! This has progressed to supporting equal marriage legislation in a number of countries across the world, including most recently in Ireland where marriage equality became law by popular vote for the first time!
We believe that everyone should love who they love, no matter what their orientation or gender, which is just why we’re supporting this special day.
What is the International Day Against Homophobia?
The IDAHOT started out back in 2004, aiming to draw the attention of policy makers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the unacceptable violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people all over the world. Since then, it has gone on to establish itself as the single most important date for LGBTI people communities to mobilise on an international scale.
Where Did It All Start?
Coordinated by the Paris-based IDAHO Committee, IDAHOT was founded by French academic, Louis-Georges Tin. For those wondering the significance of the date, there is in fact an important piece of history behind 17th May. This date marks the day that the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases in 1990… It’s pretty shocking to think that just over 25 years ago homosexuality was considered an illness by such a reputable institution, and whilst great progress has been made in many countries around the world, we still face a situation where people suffer from discrimination simply for loving who they love.
Why Is It so Important?
IDAHO is celebrated in over 130 countries all over the world, however despite the day’s global recognition, loving someone of the same sex is still considered illegal in almost 80 countries. In addition to this, in many countries citizens are still denied the right to live according to their preferred gender identity.
How Can I Get Involved?
Here in the UK, there are all sorts of activities taking place up and down the country – from a special film screening in Shrewsbury, to ‘one minute of noise’ in commemoration of the victims of LGBTI violence in Brighton, and the Big Rainbow Picnic in Warwickshire, there’s something for everyone! Check out the full list of events here.
Here at Ben & Jerry’s we commend the organisers of this inspirational event, and look forward to the day that all of us, no matter who we are or who we love, can have the freedom to be who we want to be!