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International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. Campaigning for a prejudice-free

Updated: May 11, 2023

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

The 17 May is marked as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. The date was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. This Day aims to celebrate sexual and gender diversity, and campaign against the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTQ+ people internationally.

There are 71 countries in the world where same-sex relationships are illegal, and in around 10 of these countries the punishment could be death. It is estimated that 70% of the world’s population live under laws and directives that limit freedom of expression around sexual orientation and gender identity.

The day is more important than ever with a resurgence in homophobic and transphobic laws being passed and transphobic news stories gaining mainstream attention. The Govern­ment’s own 2018 LGBT survey found that trans people are nearly twice as likely as lesbians and gay people to be offered and to undergo interventions; and these interventions, it found, may include beatings, deprivation and verbal abuse. Despite these deeply harmful practices, trans people, as confirmed at the Queen’s Speech last week, will not, along with gay and bisexual people in England and Wales, be covered in a long delayed conversion therapy ban – a ban that has been implemented in other countries like Brazil, Switzerland and Germany.

Given this, the government’s Ministerial Foreword, on banning conversion therapy on their website (December 2021) : “The government is proud to champion equality for LGBT people everywhere”, rings more than a little hollow. It will be interesting to see if their:  ‘Safe To Be Me: A Global Equality Conference’, taking place next month, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first official London Pride marches, will go ahead given that their U-turn will, for many trans people in the UK, make it decidedly: “Unsafe To Be Me”.

Birds Eye View stands with our trans community and joins the calls for an end to discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQI people globally. At work and in our communities, we all deserve to feel safe!


Films we recommend to mark this day are

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

Dir by Desiree Akhavan

Pennsylvania, 1993. After getting caught with another girl, teenager Cameron Post is sent to a conversion therapy center run by the strict Dr. Lydia Marsh and her brother, Reverend Rick, whose treatment consists in repenting for feeling “same sex attraction.” Cameron befriends fellow sinners Jane and Adam, thus creating a new family to deal with the surrounding intolerance.

new to BFI Player

Pray Away (2021)

Dir by Kristine Stolakis

In the 1970s, five men struggling with being gay in their Evangelical church started a bible study to help each other leave the “homosexual lifestyle.” They quickly received over 25,000 letters from people asking for help and formalized as Exodus International, the largest and most controversial conversion therapy organization in the world. But leaders struggled with a secret: their own “same-sex attractions” never went away. After years as Christian superstars in the religious right, many of these men and women have come out as LGBTQ, disavowing the very movement they helped start. Focusing on the dramatic journeys of former conversion therapy leaders, current members, and a survivor, PRAY AWAY chronicles the “ex gay” movement’s rise to power, persistent influence, and the profound harm it causes.

Click HERE for where to watch

But I’m a Cheerleader (2000)

Dir by Jamie Babbit

Megan is an all-American girl. A cheerleader. She has a boyfriend. But Megan doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend very much. And she’s pretty touchy with her cheerleader friends. Her conservative parents worry that she must be a lesbian and send her off to “sexual redirection” school, where she must, with other lesbians and gays learn how to be straight.

Click HERE for where to watch

Tomboy (2011)

Céline Sciamma

A French family moves to a new neighborhood with during the summer holidays. The story follows a 10-year-old gender non-conforming child, Laure, who experiments with their gender presentation, adopting the name Mikäel.

Click HERE for where to watch

Cowboys (2020)

Dir Anna Kerrigan

Troy and his young transgender son Joe are on the run from his conservative mother in the Montana wilderness, with a detective in hot pursuit.

Click HERE for where to watch

Click HERE to see a map of the countries that criminalise LGBT people.


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