In-Depth: Biden calls for equality on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

White House LGBTQ
Posted at 4:52 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 17:52:54-04

WACO, Texas — Tuesday is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. 

It was on this date in 1990 that the World Health Organization declassified ‘homosexuality’ as a mental disorder. It was only in 2019 that a WHO expert said that they now understand that being transgender is "not actually a mental health condition".

"But we continue to witness disturbing setbacks and rising hate and violence targeting LGBTQI+ people in the United States and around the world," said President Joe Biden.

The move followed the decision by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. at the time nearly 40 percent of voting members still chose to retain the classification.

Psychologists and psychiatrists look at two different handbooks as their diagnostic and statistical tools.

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Nancy Pelosi Tuesday asked for Americans to stand against “vile hate” of the LGBTQ community on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, saying that the “fight remains as urgent as ever.” Now people from across the world celebrate the day.

The day is celebrated in many parts of the world now by governmental proclamations and renewed efforts to end the discrimination and violence that LGBTQ+ people throughout the world still face.

The day is strong in Europe and Latin America, where it is commemorated with public events in almost all countries.

“The freedom to exist and to speak of LGBTQ + local citizenship is substantially prohibited in Poland and Hungary," said councilor and activist Michele Albiani. "Milan — which is home to Italy’s largest LGBTQ+ community — adopted the designation as a response."

Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Dec 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

69 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. In 26 countries, transgender individuals could be punished.

In 2021, United States president Joe Biden used IDAHOBIT to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act.

The United States affirms today, on the International Day Against

Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), that the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons are the same human rights to which all persons are entitled. As enshrined in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “[a]ll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Too many LGBTQI+ persons live under the shadow of discrimination, violence, and fear. Global data makes clear that the dehumanization of LGBTQI+ persons is systemic, pervasive, and often violent. Homophobia, biphobia, interphobia, and transphobia are deeply entrenched in societies across the world, including here in the United States.

Countless persons are at extreme risk for being themselves. We remain committed to ending this intolerance. Everyone deserves to live with respect, dignity, and safety. The United States affirms that all LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families are valid and valuable.

In line with commitments made at President Biden’s Summit for Democracy and resulting Year of Action, we will continue to support reforms to yield a world free from discrimination and violence, so that all of our LGBTQI+ friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family may live freely with dignity and equal respect for their human rights.

U.S. Department of State