An anti-homophobia awareness day begun in Canada is making its way across the border into America. The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), a project of the Fondation Émergence, a Canadian LGBT foundation, is set for May 17.
The day received a promotional boost recently when Parents, Families and Friends (PFLAG) pointed its blog readers and chapter leaders to IDAHO organizing resources on Fondation Émergence’s website, www.homophobiaday.org.
According to the site, this year’s theme is “Healthcare and Homosexuality,” which will highlight the health issues and discrimination that challenge the gay and lesbian community.
“Just like any other citizens, gays and lesbians need to receive health services free of discrimination,” IDAHO organizers assert on the website. “Homosexuality is not a sickness. However, specialists haven’t always thought so.”
The date of the annual observance holds worldwide significance. On May 17, 1991, the World Health Organization finally removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, almost two decades after the American Psychiatric Association expunged the same from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The date also marks the ratification of the Declaration of Montréal, a comprehensive LGBT equality document signed at the International Conference on LGBT Rights prior to the first World Outgames in July 2006.
Despite the APA’s move in 1973 and a similar move by the American Psychological Association in 1975, sexual orientation continues to be a hotly debated topic in American medical circles.
On May 5, a controversial panel including pro- and anti-gay religious and medical figures was set to discuss the intersections of sexual orientation and religion. The panel, just one of many workshops at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., was cancelled after openly gay New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson refused to participate in the discussion.
Others scheduled to appear included unlicensed psychologist and “ex-gay” proponent Dr. Warren Throckmorton and Dr. Albert Mohler, the president of the South Baptist Theological Seminary, who once gave a nod to genetic altering of suspected gay fetuses.