Tuesday 17 May 2016 marks 27 years since homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organisation’s international classification of diseases and the twelfth International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia, commonly abbreviated to ‘IDAHOT’.
Since its initial inception back in 2004, IDAHOT has come to represent a day in which social activists and equality campaigners seek to raise consciousness regarding the discrimination and prejudice that LGBTI people still face in communities across the world.
In recent decades our country has made significant progress towards removing many legal barriers that prevented LGBT people from becoming equal members of society and in 2015 ILGA-Europe rated Scotland the best in Europe for LGBT equality. Though we should celebrate our hard-won achievements, there still remain many issues regarding social exclusion and provision of services in our society.
The Equality Network (Scotland’s national LGBTI equality and human rights charity) published a report in June 2015 regarding the experiences of prejudice and discrimination in Scotland. The report found that 79 per cent of LGBT respondents had witnessed or experienced prejudice or discrimination within the past year. Additionally, 33 per cent of LGBT respondents felt isolated in their communities due to being LGBT. There sadly remains much work still to be done before we can claim to be a truly integrated society.
As part of Unite’s commitment to pursuing social equality for all workers, we have been contacting local authorities across Scotland to encourage their participation in IDAHOT and to engage with their LGBTI communities. We are pleased to say that many have responded and have taken positive action to change their communities for the better.
We hope you will join Unite the union in commemorating IDAHOT and striving to ensure all people may realise their true potential as equal members of our society regardless of gender, race, religion or sexuality.
If you are a member of Unite the union please contact Elaine Dougall to find out how you can get involved with our campaign.