May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

May 2, 2023

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB.) This day marks the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990 — an important step in the fight against homophobia.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association is proud to recognize and support the diversity of our members and staff, and to join in the fight against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

While people and organizations in more than 130 countries now celebrate IDAHOTB, discrimination is still tolerated – and even enforced – by governments around the world. At least 81 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. In Ontario, we are fortunate to be protected under the Human Rights Code against discrimination and harassment based on one’s sexual orientation. Learn more about your rights and available resources.

A Q-and-A with ONA President Erin Ariss: The importance of IDAHOTB and what we can do to support LGBTQI2S+ communities

Headshot of ONA President Erin Ariss, RN

ONA President Erin Ariss, RN

Each year, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) is an opportunity to celebrate gender and sexual diversity. At ONA, we stand together with people from all backgrounds and will continue advocating for equality around the world.

IDAHOTB was highlighted to draw attention to the discrimination experienced by people with diverse sexual and gender orientations. Though there has been progress made in recognizing LGBTQI2S individuals and providing equal opportunities, there is much more to be done when it comes to the safety and treatment of LGBTQI2S communities.

ONA President Erin Ariss identifies as a member of LGBTQI2S communities. Here, she talks about IDAHOTB and its importance.

What do you want straight and/or cisgender ONA members to know about you?

Both my partner and I are proud registered nurses and ONA Members. We are daughters, sisters, and aunts. Together, we have three children and three dogs. We were both at the bedside throughout the pandemic. We are no different from most ONA members.

Why you think IDAHOTB is an important day to acknowledge?

As the old saying goes, “Those that fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it.” May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. We need to remember that, at one point, a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity were considered a mental disorder. We must never go back to those days! We must learn from this oppression and discrimination. Most importantly, we need to support and celebrate all individuals.

How can we help to support LGTBQI2S+ communities?

Be an ally and use your voice. Speak up against homophobia and transphobia. Never make assumptions about another person’s gender. Support all people and attend events when you can. Support is so welcome!

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