On 17 May, we celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia. It was created in 2004 to make policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media aware of the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally. The date of 17 May was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The LGBTI community is made up of:
· Lesbians, women who feel attraction towards other women;
· Gays, men who feel attraction towards other men;
· Bisexuals, persons who feel attracted by men and women;
· Transgenders or transsexuals, persons whose birth-sex is opposite to the gender they self-identify with; and
· Intersexuals; persons who have sexual characteristics of both sexes, male and female.
As can be seen on ILGA’s (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trans & Intersex Association) map, the rights of the LGB community are extremely unequal worldwide. In some countries such as Iran, Sudan, or Saudi Arabia the punishment for being homosexual is death, and there are many other countries where imprisonment is the penalty.
The situation is devastating concerning women who are raped to “cure” their lesbianism in South Africa; transgenderism classified as an illness in Chile and Algeria; the persecution, torture and even murder of homosexual people in Uganda, or the suicide amongst teenagers all over the world due to the suffered bullying.
Focusing on Europe, it is true that LGB rights are more respected, as there are some countries where gay couples have a legal recognition and the right to raise and adopt children. When it comes to the Trans community, it must be noted that they appear to be the only group subject to legally prescribed state-enforced sterilisation, as can be seen in TGEU’s (Transgender Europe) map: 24 countries require sterilisation to provide gender recognition to a Trans person, while a total of 16 countries do not provide for any possibility to change name and gender at all.
2013 saw a close and clear example of discrimination against LGBTI community; Russia approved the anti-gay law “propaganda of homosexuality among minors”.
This legislation restricts both freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly for the LGBTI community, limiting also access to information and work of the organisations, which support this group in the country.
All these pieces of information show us that there is still a lot of work to do to achieve real equality and full respect for the full human diversity.
EUD is aware that for some Deaf LGBTI people it is not easy to come out and be visible in your daily life, the double stigma is there and sometimes it is hard to face it. You are part of a minority inside another minority, but diversity enriches us and gives a more open view of our heterogeneous society. It can be positive for you to get involved with associations related to the topic in order to have contact with different types of people, and empower yourself, too.
The lack of homosexual role models, and especially lesbian women, as well as Trans models in society is still a current problem. When public people are visible they help provide real-life examples of the LGBTI community, and avoid the feeling of being the only one in the world.
EUD welcomes public statements, as we think they are really important also for the Deaf LGBTI community. To have politicians at European level, such as MEP Nicole Sinclare who declared her identity as a Trans person, leads us to a more tolerant and respectful society.
You can also contribute to this common aim by being visible in your daily life. Visibility is about living your life freely. You neither have to tell everyone about your sexual orientation or gender identity nor to hide it. Just act natural, as heterosexual and cisgender (people whose birth-sex match with the gender they identify themselves with) people do when they talk about their personal life, their partners, or their families.
EUD encourages you to be and value yourself feeling comfortable with your body and your gender and sexual identity. Do not accept that anyone judges you, and if you are passing through a difficult stage, be sure that it gets better and that there are many organisations and persons supporting you
All Out: https://www.allout.org/
Trans Rights Europe Map, May 2013:
Lesbian and Gay Rights in the World: