Idahobit Day 2024


Idahobit Day commemorates the day when WHO declared that homosexuality is not a disease.
It makes us rethink about what is a disease and what are just variations of normal human existence.

The International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia commemorates the fact that on May 17th 1990 the WHO declassified homosexuality as a disease, more specifically a mental disorder.

Diseases are something which cause people to suffer. If someone suffers from a disease, it‘s good humanitarian practice to try to cure the disease. So until that day, it was compliant with WHO classifications to try to „cure“ people from their homosexuality.

The attempt to do so is called conversion therapy and we have learnt in the last decades that it is not only futile but also extremly harmful to the people undergoing iti. Any medical personnel participating in this is violating their hippocratic oath. However, in 2024 it is still legal in most countries in the worldii. In most of the 27 countries which ban it today, these laws came into effect within the last 10 years. Only Latin America was faster in parts, with the first acts to prohibit conversion therapy coming into effect in the late 90ies.

Being queer causes distress, especially in young people. The still much higher rates of depression and suicide than their straight peer group proves that. So there is suffering, it is good humanitarian practice to ease this suffering, but the feasible way to do so is to change the society to get being queer out of the fringes into society mainstream.

Idahobit Day began in 2005 as International Day against Homophobia. It evolved by adding the fight against transphobia in 2009 and against biphobia in 2015. This reflects our growing understanding of what a disorder is and what actually causes suffering. Not that this is really news, as Rosa von Praunheim pointed out in his 1971 movie „It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives“iiithat the problem is the society, not the individual gay person.

So things are moving, but they are moving slowly, and not necessarily always in a good direction.

This year‘s theme of Idahobit Day is: „No one left behind. Equality, freedom and justice for all.“iv

This challenges us to rethink whom else we may consider mentally disordered where actually it is just the others who are in distress. Neurodiversity is a quite obvious starting point. Although this is not an excuse to dismiss any mental disorder as not really being a disorder. Depression for example definitely qualifies for that description.

The tedious slowliness in the progress should also put us into action to get at least the most obvious things done as banning conversion therapy. I admit that‘s a big goal, nonetheless we should aim for it.

But there are smaller options for immediate action, too. The traditional way of marking Idahobit Day is to do a flash mob. Flying air balloons is probably not what we want to do in 2024, but I hope that somewhere near you a flash mob takes place today which you can improve by participating.

Posted in World days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *