May 17th is an important day for LGBTI people across the globe.

CREDIT: nito-bigstock
CREDIT: nito-bigstock


On May 17th 1990, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a mental health disorder. It was a landmark moment for the global gay community – as medical professionals no longer viewed people with sexualities different from the mainstream to be mentally ill.

It was the first time that a world-wide organisation made the claim – many other countries own medical counsels had declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder many years earlier.

For instance, in 1968 the UK’s government declassified homosexuality as a mental illness.

IDAHOT stands for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It was created in 2004 to bring attention to discrimination, abuse and the experience of LGBTI people across the globe. The day is celebrated in 130 countries. There are a reported 1,600 events organised to mark the day.

It is not a centralised campaign, meaning that people from around the world are encouraged to celebrate the day in any way that they wish.

Originally the day was known by the acronym I. (International) D. (Day) A. (Against) HO. (Homophobia). In 2009 the word transphobia was added, making it: IDAHOT, however it is still pronounced “Idaho”, like the US State, by most people.

In 2015 Biphobia was added – but the acronym has not been changed which the organisers of the day have called “an imperfect solution, but a necessity for communications consistency.”

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