Recognizing International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, And Biphobia In 2023
This article contains mentions homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. Therapy does not replace immediate or crisis care. If you need immediate support, please get in touch with one of the following hotlines:
The Trevor Lifeline: Call 1-866-488-7386 or text "START" to 678-678.
Trans Lifeline: Call 1-877-565-8860.
The LGBTQIA+ community has faced prejudice and discrimination for decades. This mistreatment has led to negative mental health outcomes for those belonging to this community. Now more than ever, it's imperative to maintain the fight against anti-LGBTQIA+ initiatives. This article will discuss the origins and purpose of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, including the 2023 theme and how to get involved.
About International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, And Biphobia
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) is an international event that takes place on May 17th every year. On May 17th of 1990, the World Health Organization took the long-overdue step of declassifying homosexuality as a mental health disorder. So, IDAHOTB was created to fall on this same day in recognition of the strides that have been made and those that have yet to come. Since 2004, this day has aimed to bring attention to the violence and discrimination that LGBTQIA+ individuals commonly face.
Homophobia refers to the prejudice, discrimination, and violence that occurs against people who are gay, lesbian, pansexual, bisexual, or of any other sexual/romantic orientation that exists within the queer umbrella. Transphobia refers to prejudice, discrimination, and violence that occurs against people who are transgender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, or gender diverse. Biphobia refers to the specific discrimination, prejudice, violence, and stereotypes that bisexual or biromantic (and at times, pansexual or panromantic) individuals face.
IDAHOTB 2023: This Year's Theme
Every year, there's a different theme for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. The 2023 theme was "Our Bodies, Lives, and Rights." This theme aims to seek freedom from violence, discrimination, conversion therapy, and means of silencing the expression of LGBTQIA+ individuals. With a wide range of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation either being considered or already passed, it can be vital to stay focused on the rights, safety, and freedom of LGBTQIA+ people.
Get Involved In The Fight Against Violence And Discrimination
With the goal of this year's theme in mind, what are some ways to get involved on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, And Biphobia? Here are some steps you can consider taking:
Raise awareness for current attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community.
In recent times, we've seen a slew of anti-LGBTQIA+ incidents across the globe. Examples include violence against individuals; bills that affect those in education settings; attacks on the rights of transgender athletes; restrictions or proposed restrictions on gender-affirming care, including hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers; and more. It's important to get the facts on anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation and the impact of current or proposed laws.
Take active steps to listen to, fight for, and support the LGBTQIA+ community.
To show your support, you might speak up on the current anti-LGBTQIA+ incidents worldwide and take action to support the LGBTQIA+ community in the face of these incidents. You can use your voice and get involved in making change. This can be as easy as signing a petition; many are available online. This might seem small and insignificant because it’s an easy thing to do, but your voice can make a major difference.
Find a volunteer opportunity.
There are several different volunteer opportunities out there. You may find a local organization fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights that needs volunteers. You may get involved with an organization such as the human rights campaign (HRC), where individuals are accepted for virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities.
Look for ways to stay up to date.
If you want to show your support all year long, there are several different ways to do so. One actionable step you might take is joining a mailing list. There is a mailing list on May17.org for IDAHOTB, but you can also join mailing lists for organizations focused on supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. Another thing you can do to stay updated is to use a legislation tracker, such as the one at freedomforallamericans.org.
Learn about or confer LGBTQIA+ history and facts.
The history of the LGBTQIA+ community is rich, and it informs where we are in terms of LGBTQIA+ rights today. Providing content from reputable organizations and LGBTQIA+ activists can help others get educated on important issues. If you do sign a petition or get involved in another way, this is something else that you can contribute. Suppose you are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community yourself or aren't informed on issues that affect the community. In that case, you may visit websites such as The Trevor Project website or the GLAAD website to learn more about allyship and LGBTQIA+ topics.
Self-Care For The LGBTQIA+ Community
Sometimes, everything going on in the world is so overwhelming that we forget to care for ourselves. Here are some ways to practice self-care as part of the LGBTQIA+ community:
Take it easy during hard times.
Awareness days can be heavy for the people affected by particular topics. The same can be true for the daily attacks that minority groups often face. It is important to care for your mental health with this in mind. In addition to practices that support your mental health daily, it may be beneficial to pay extra attention to your needs during high-stress times. This might mean utilizing practical coping skills, like breathing exercises that can calm your nervous system down. It can also look like reaching out to your support system, taking a break from the news or technology overall, or doing something relaxing. It can be hard to take it easy, but you deserve to make your health a priority.
Monitor your sleep.
In addition to various other mental and physical health disparities, sleep disorders have been shown to disproportionately impact the LGBTQIA+ community. Sleep is a crucial part of self-care, even if you do not have a sleep disorder. Not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of car accidents, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and several other unfavorable consequences. As for how much is enough, it is suggested that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 get around 7-9 hours of sleep every night. To improve sleep hygiene, eliminate technology use before bed, avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine, and sleep in a cool, dark, clean space.
Seek positive social connections.
Positive social connections can be vital for mental and physical well-being. One’s sense of community often plays a large role in the lives of LGBTQIA+ people. It's important to have connections where you know that you're safe and supported. You may be able to find peer-led support groups for LGBTQIA+ people in your area, or you may be able to find local LGBTQIA+ centers or organizations with events and other opportunities for connection. Sometimes, there are virtual modes of meeting others, such as online support groups. Positive social bonds can reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can also support immunity and longevity.
Spend time on a hobby.
Many people look forward to their hobbies as a source of pleasure, but did you know that they can also support mental and physical well-being? Studies show that activities like reading, gardening, sports, listening to music, singing, and more can be beneficial. Hobbies can boost your mood, give you something to look forward to, and lower stress.
Reach out for help if you need it.
Alongside the daily routines and coping skills that you can use to support your mental health, it can also be vital to reach out for professional care if you need it. This can be particularly relevant for the LGBTQIA+ community due to a heightened risk of various mental health concerns. Therapy can help you build skills and routines that you can use to support yourself throughout your life, and it may also aid with mental health concerns, such as life stress and mental health conditions or familial relationships. You can find a therapist to work within-person or use an online therapy website. Many people find it advantageous to seek an LGBTQIA+-affirming provider who works with those in this community and is informed on LGBTQIA+ topics.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
Online therapy options can make finding an affirming provider or specialist easier and more convenient. If you're interested in online therapy, consider BetterHelp. When you sign up for BetterHelp, you'll answer a series of questions that'll help you get matched with a professional. During that questionnaire, you can opt to see a therapist who specializes in working with the LGBTQIA+ population. With BetterHelp, you can switch therapists at any time and cancel services at your convenience as needed. Getting started with a therapist online is often faster than finding a provider to work with face-to-face, allowing you to get the support you need sooner.
The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
Studies show that online therapy can be effective in treating or supporting people who face a range of mental health concerns. Those in the LGBTQIA+ community often face challenges like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, particularly if they’ve been exposed to prejudice and discrimination. One study found that users of BetterHelp “experienced significantly reduced depression symptom severity after engaging with the platform.” This was true regardless of a person’s gender, financial status, or physical health status.
Discrimination, prejudice, and violence continue to affect those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community to this day. International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, And Biphobia is a chance to recognize the struggles these individuals face and do something about it. Whether you acknowledge this day in small or large ways, you can make a difference through your words and actions. If you’ve experienced discrimination in your own life, speaking with a certified counselor online can help you find healing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the queer theory in simple terms?
In simple terms, queer theory is a critical theory applied specifically to queer topics. Often, this includes theories that challenge norms related to sexuality and gender. For example, queer theory challenges the idea that straight is the default sexual orientation for a person.
What are the main causes of discrimination?
Individuals may be discriminated against based on gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, religion, size, ability, etc. Discrimination is prevalent today, and it is never acceptable or excusable. Anti-discrimination laws are in place in many areas. However, there is still a long way to go in reducing the amount of discrimination still occurring today.
What is bisexual erasure?
Bisexual erasure refers to the erasure of bisexual people and their identity, a pervasive issue that can exist on several levels. One example is in statements such as, "You're either gay or straight," or "Bisexuality doesn't exist." Neither is true.
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