International Day Against Homophobia...May 17th, 2008

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.

Target Audience

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.

Becoming Involved

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.

How to get involved

It is important to make concrete efforts to counter homophobia. The human effort to do so is exactly what creates change and enables mentalities to evolve. The International Day Against Homophobia is the perfect opportunity to make such efforts. Fondation Émergence wishes to be abreast of any initiatives taken. Simply fill out the form and return it to us at Fondation Émergence.

Raising the Rainbow Flag

Get involved in the nationwide plan to raise the Rainbow Flag on May 17 for the International Day Against Homophobia. Wherever there’s a flagpole, you can fly a Rainbow Flag.

  • Model letter to municipal board or bourough council to request the Rainbow Flag be raised and for a motion to proclaim the International Day Against Homophobia (Word)
  • Model motion to proclaim the International Day Against Homophobia (Word)

Here are some initiatives that people can take within their environment:

  • Teachers and Instructors

    Teachers and instructors can find on this website ways to participate. The Teaching Tools section offers various pedagogical tools with which teachers can create and organize classroom activities.

  • Schools and School Boards

    May 17 will be an exceptional moment to:

    • prohibit discrimination against, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified students, as well as students who are harassed due to perceptions of their gender identity or sexual orientation. More information (Word);
    • organise activities at school and in the classroom. Fondation Émergence had also put forward a project for 2005 and 2006: Ten Minutes at Ten O'clock Against Homophobia;
    • inviting a guest speaker, hanging posters, etc. See Taking action in schools.
  • Parents

    It's the right moment to let their children know that from now on slurs such as “fag(got)”, “dike”, “homo” and any other derogatory remarks toward gays and lesbians will no longer be tolerated at home and that they will have to eliminate these words once and for all from their vocabulary out of respect for gays and lesbians and their immediate families.

  • Libraries

    Clearly displaying books on homophobia.

  • Employers

    To set up programs against homophobia in the workplace.

  • Trade unions

    To organize awareness activities in the workplace.

  • Community groups

    To heighten awareness among their constituencies.

  • Broadcasters

    To present special reports and documentaries on the subject.

  • Newspapers

    To publish reports and in-depth articles on the subject.

  • Radio station

    To call upon artists and personalities to speak on the subject, and to play songs about tolerance.

  • Internet diffusers

    To take out or to refuse any homophobic content.

  • Gays and lesbians who wish to do so

    To “come out” of the closet.

  • Legislators, governments, municipalities and school boards

    To approve a motion in support of the International Day Against Homophobia, and to make a commitment to fight homophobia. Download the draft for proposed motion (Word).

  • The general public

    To make a symbolic gesture.

International Day Against Homophobia - May 17, 2008

May 13th, 2008 · No Comments


Saturday, May 17, marks the day queers and their allies from around the world ‘celebrate’ International Day Against Homophobia. This year’s theme is “Homosexuality is Not An Illness.” While many countries no longer consider it to be, far more do hold the view that queerness is a disorder, punishable by imprisonment, torture, and, even death.

If you have a desire to find out about how your city or country is participating in this important day, or what activities have been organized by your local activists, or even just to learn more about the day, visit


Please sign this petition if you support this day!!


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