What is homophobia?

Any negative attitudes that may lead to the rejection and discrimination, directly or indirectly, of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or of anyone whose appearance or behavior does not conform to the stereotypes of masculinity or femininity.

Are considered variants of homophobia:

  • biphobia: aversion of bisexuality or bisexuals;
  • Homophobia: aversion to homosexuality or homosexual men;
  • lesbophobia: aversion to lesbianism or to lesbian women.

Homophobia manifests itself in different forms. It is sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious, it can even be internalized.

What is transphobia ?

Transphobia is a negative attitude or a negative feeling, an aversion to trans people and gender non-conforming people

What does LGBT mean ?

LGBT is an acronym that stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans. You can also find other versions of this accronym such as LGBTQ+ (Q stands for queer, and + covers all the people who are part of sexual or gender diversity and are not L, G, B or T) or LGBTQIA+ (I stands for intersex and A for asexual or ally).

What is the International Day Against Homophobia?

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia takes place every year on May the 17th. This moment of the year is meant to be a unifying event since a large number of activities and actions take place on this occasion. This day is an opportunity to organize awareness and education activities. Everyone (from individuals to institutions and corporations) are invited to reflect on homophobia and transphobia, and to become aware of their devastating effects.

Why is the International Day Against Homophobia important?

Homophobia and transphobia are insidious phenomenons that are often subtle, and might not always be visible. Homophobia is a lot more present than first meets the eye. It does not just affect homosexuals; it also torments anyone who doesn’t conform to gender roles stereotypes. Like other forms of discrimination and intolerance such as racism, sexism or anti-semitism, homophobia has significant, sometimes devastating, consequences on the lives of those who are victims of it.

Because of this latent and sometimes violent homophobia and transphobia , some people have great difficulty living with a sexual orientation or gender identity that isn’t the one of the majority.  The suicide rate among gay youth is much higher than among their heterosexual peers, and the amount of trans people who end up killing themselves are devastating. Many LGBT people still live in secrecy and in fear of rejection.

While progressive laws such as the one allowing same-sex marriage are proofs of today’s progress, we have not yet reach social equality among citizens of all sexual orientations and gender identities; and that is what we should strive for.

Why May 17th?

May 17th is a symbolic date because it marks an important day in the evolution of gay rights. Indeed, it’s on May 17th 1990  that the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses, ending more than a century of medical homophobia.

That date was proposed by IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) for the annual holding of a day dedicated to the fight against homophobia. Before that, Fondation Emergence organized this day in June. The Montreal Declaration, which came out of the International LGBT Human Rights Conference held in Montreal from in July 2006, included a recommendation for recognition of an International Day Against Homophobia on May 17 each year. Since then several countries have recognized this day.

How can I get involved in the fight against homophobia?

There are many ways to contribute to the fight against homophobia and transphobia. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is a great time to do it. This day is an opportunity :

  • for parents to tell their children that, regardless of their sexual orientation, it will not affect the love they have for them;
  • for teachers, to talk about homophobia and transphobia in the classroom;
  • for libraries, to highlight books written by or about LGBT people;
  • for employers, to set up anti-homophobia programs;
  • for unions, to organize awareness-raising activities in the workplace
  • for community centers, to raise awareness in their community;
  • for broadcasters, to present files and documentaries on homophobia and transphobia; to involve artists, personalities and contents that promote tolerance;
  • for newspapers, to report and feature articles on homophobia and transphobia, and to interview people who work in that field;
  • for people on the Internet, to remove or reject any homophobic content and to promote the International Day Against Homophobia;
  • for LGBT people, it can be a good occasion to come out (if that is something they want to do) or if they are already “out”, to talk about homophobia and transphobia around them;
  • For legislators, governments and government agencies, to proclaim the 17th of May the International Day Against Homophobia and commit to fighting homophobia and transphobia;
  • for the general public, to make a symbolic gesture, to start a conversation, to share thematic content or simply to show support.

I want to organize an activity. Do you have any suggestions?

Whether individual or collective, any initiative to fight homophobia is welcome. If you can’t think of what to do, you can get some inspiration from what has already be done such as:

  • Solidarity activities: Rainbow Flag Raising, Rainbow Peace March, Walk Away from Homophobia, Tree Planting;
  • Educational activities: round tables, symposiums, discussion workshops, conferences;
  • Awareness-raising activities: classroom activities, distribution of leaflets or pins, information stands at school or in a public place, organization of specific campaigns, special activities on lunch time, presentation of films on the subject followed by discussions;
  • artistic activities: photo exhibitions, graphic art exhibitions, public reading of texts, plays;
  • social activities: solidarity cocktail parties, solidarity barbecues, dinners, awareness lunches, coffee-meetings;
  • media activities: press conferences, features in local media or specialized media.

If you are organizing an activity, Fondation Émergence would love to know about it and add it to this website.

For more information, or to let us no you will participate email us at : courrier@homophobie.org

Where can I get posters, leaflets and other tools?

Every year, Fondation Émergence creates posters and pamphlets for an annual campaign that culminates on May 17th. Posters and flyers can be ordered or downloaded for free.

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What is the Fight Against Homophobia Award and why does it exist?

Since 2003, the foundation has given each year an award to recognize the important contribution of a personality or an organization in the fight against homophobia and transphobia. Our main criteria for this award is the contribution of a personality or organization in the fight against homophobia. The award takes into accounts contribution made during the past year but can also highlight the contribution of a personality for one’s entire career.

I want to help Fondation Émergence. How can I make a donation?

In order to organize the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and to achieve its mission, the Foundation relies on donors from a variety of backgrounds including private companies, charities, governments and individuals. Fondation Émergence needs and deserves your help.

Donations can be made by CanadaDon, PayPal, check or Visa or MasterCard by calling 514 866-6788. Checks must be made payable to Fondation Émergence inc. Unless otherwise stated, the foundation issues a charitable receipt for all donations over $ 20. The charity receipt makes no reference to sexual orientation and the foundation ensures the confidentiality of our donors.

Fondation Émergence inc. is a registered charity recognized by Revenu Quebec and by Canada Revenue Agency. Our registration number is: 875907420 RR0001 (www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities).