Thursday, May 17, 2012
International Day Against Homophobia
The text below is from the International Day Against Homophobia website. Although it is Canadian-based (naturally, since the US is fighting a real and seemingly losing battle against a march backward to the Dark Ages right now), this is a world-wide issue as the title suggests. As we know, homophobia is inextricably linked to misogyny. Homophobia is not just about gay men or gay women, it is the denigration of anything perceived as feminine. With the frightening tone the rest of the world is taking, from a government minister in Zimbabwe only yesterday calling for gay men and women to have their property taken away from them and for them to be banished, to Uganda's violent bill that will make homosexuality a first-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison with repeat offenders being PUT TO DEATH, to four areas of Russia including St. Petersburg and Siberia that have adopted bans on "gay propaganda," we need to enlighten the world now more than ever. Even if you are not in Canada, even if you are not in Africa or Russia, even if you are in an intelligent, progressive area, we still need awareness. It is a ridiculously overused cliché, but the world is changed one person at a time. Be one of those people. You can participate simply by believing that all people have human and civil rights in this existence. Stand for it. Tell others. This is how the world changes one person at a time.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL DAY
The cause for the International Day Against Homophobia, its central topic of interest, the common theme that provides information for each of its endeavours remains a universal, multi-faceted and historical phenomenon: homophobia.
In Canada, recognition, for lesbian and gay communities, has been first and foremost a judicial acceptance brought about by the adoption of the Charter of Human Rights. However, judicial advances will remain only that until a complete, unlimited social acceptance of homosexuality is achieved and homophobia wiped out. To achieve this goal, the Fondation Émergence proposed in 2003, along with partners, to hold each year a special day dedicated to the social recognition of homosexual experience.
Philosophy of the Event
Few minority groups have been as discriminated against as the gays and lesbians. But major breakthroughs have occurred, and homosexual people are stepping out of the shadows. From the outside, it could be construed that all problems have been solved. The media are sympathetic, public personalities come out, television shows feature lesbian and gay characters in scenes of everyday life. Nevertheless, the reality is quite different. Many individuals are unable to live their sexual orientation, encounter difficulties if they do, or end up role-playing to protect themselves.
Despite these dire situations, the implementation of the International Day Against Homophobia should not rest on a “victimization“ philosophy. In fact, the Day may be seen as a great opportunity to highlight positive aspects of homosexuality and celebrate the contribution of lesbians and gays to society.
Homophobia is an insidious process that channels its effects through subtle, usually transparent ways. No one is safe from hostile manifestations to homosexuality. Quite surprisingly, many homosexual individuals themselves adopt homophobic behaviour, hoping it would protect them against prejudice from their entourage. The International Day Against Homophobia aims to reach all groups of society, regardless of their sexual orientation.
An International Day Against Homophobia belongs to no one individual. It’s about all people hoping for a prejudice-free world that can provide a place at the table for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. Inspired by all world theme-days, the day set aside to fight homophobia needs to be appropriated by all of those actively involved in civil society: gay and lesbian community organisations, those organisations focusing on other types of sexual diversity, unions, employers, private businesses, governments, public administration, professional associations, and all individuals seeking equality.