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How to celebrate IDAHOBIT

Ashley Scott, Executive Director of Rainbow Families, talks the significance of the day – and how we can support the queer, trans and intersex community year-round

Written by
Eliza Campbell
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May 17 is an important date for the international LGBTIQA+ community. It marks the day that, 31 years ago, the World Health Organisation officially removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. In 2022, May 17 is recognised as a celebration of LGBTIQA+ folk and brings the broader community together to raise awareness for the work still needed to combat discrimination. This day is referred to as IDAHOBIT – which stands for: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia.

Ashley Scott is the executive director of Rainbow Families, an organisation that works year-round to create resources for LGBTIQA+ families and their children – helping those that may be isolated due to social pressures, financial difficulties or discrimination. We asked Scott to talk about the significance of IDAHOBIT and the best ways to celebrate and support the queer community on May 17, and every day of the year. 

Ashley Scott, executive director of Rainbow Families
Rainbow FamiliesAshley Scott, executive director of Rainbow Families

What is IDAHOBIT?

"IDAHOBIT is a day to celebrate the LGBTIQA+ community and an opportunity to reflect on all of the discrimination that has been removed for the LGBTIQA+ community in recent years. Alarmingly, 75 per cent of LGBTIQA+ youth experience some form of discrimination – we have a long way to go until all LGBTIQA+ people are equal, and all discrimination against LGBTIAQ+ people is removed." 

What are some ways that people can support the LGBTIQA+ community year-round?

"LGBTIQA+ people rely on our allies throughout the year to have our backs. We know that discrimination still happens – inappropriate remarks are made behind our backs, and organisations are still not always totally accepting of us. We get tired of always having to fight for our rights, self-advocacy is exhausting.

Support from our allies is so important – calling out inappropriate comments, letting people know that even though you have been able to tick male or female on a form, not everyone will be included by binary forms. Small gestures like this can have a huge impact on our community, they are simple ways for allies to be able to support our community."

How will you be celebrating May 17 with your friends, family and community?

"At Rainbow Families, we use IDAHOBIT to remind our community of the work we have done to remove the discrimination that LGBTIQA+ parents face. An example of this is the changes to Australian Passport application forms which are now inclusive of diverse families. We will also use the momentum of the day to refocus our efforts on our current advocacy campaign, which is working to ensure that all children’s parents are recognised as their legal parents.

IDAHOBIT is also a day that reminds us to talk to our kids about discrimination – what discrimination looks like, what impact discrimination can have on our community, and what they can do to stop discrimination when they see it."

Charities to support on IDAHOBIT

Rainbow Families is a wonderful community-led charity that supports, connects and empowers LGBTQ+ parents and their families. It works to build a strong supportive community for parents to help remove the isolation that many LGBTQ+ people experience. It also offers a suite of resources for parents and young people and runs courses throughout the year to help families be the best they can be. 

Ashley Scott

Minus 18 is an excellent organisation that supports LGBTIQA+ teenagers around Australia. They host some fantastic events for young queer people to meet other teenagers in their area, as well as offer resources and training for workplaces and the community.

Ashley Scott
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Equality Australia is a national charity that exists to improve the wellbeing and circumstances of LGBTIQ+ people in Australia and their families. The Equality Australia team have been at the forefront of removing discrimination LGBTIQ+ people face since Marriage Equality.

Ashley Scott

How to celebrate IDAHOBIT in Victoria

On May 17, Boroondara Youth Hub will be hosting celebrations for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia. In acknowledgement of the day, the Hub will be hosting a Pride and Pronoun badge making workshop followed by a Rainbow High Tea. Activities are open for ages ten to 25 for a day of embracing equality, creative activities, yummy food and inclusiveness.

Put on your best Saturday Night Fever attire and get down to Box Hill on Saturday, May 21 for the Freeza Flying Pig Events IDAHOBIT Disco. The event celebrates IDAHOBIT and aims to give youth a safe, inclusive place to form connections. It will be a smoking and alcohol-free zone with live DJs, prizes, food and fun.

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Monash University's Pride Week runs from 16-20 of May, designed to coincide with IDAHOBIT celebrations. There are a whole host of events throughout the week, including educational sessions, a rainbow afternoon tea, an arts and crafts night, pronoun training and a film night. Check out the Pride Week home page for the full list of activities.

  • Art
  • Southbank

NGV's Queer celebrates the stories and perspectives of our queer communities in a landmark new exhibition open until August 21. Queer is the most comprehensive Australian survey of art relating to queer themes to date, with more than 300 works pulled from the NGV collection exhibited across five galleries at the NGV International. 

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