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IDAHOBIT: How to be an ally every day of the year

Join millions of people around the world and go rainbow against LGBTQIA+ discrimination on Wednesday 17 May.

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Celebrated every year, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia marks World Health Organization removing homosexuality from its classification of diseases and related health problems.

But over the years it has become so much more than that.

The first IDAHOBIT was held in 2005 and the day has transformed into a celebration of LGBTIQA+ people globally. But it still maintains its original purpose - to celebrate the progress made while also raising awareness for the discrimination that LGBTQIA+ people still face today.

LGBTIQA+ people in Australia experience disproportionate rates of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

According to IDAHOBIT:

  • 68% of LGBTIQA+ employees in Australia are not out to everyone at work.
  • 2 in 3 LGBTIQA+ youth experience abuse due to their identity.
  • 35% of LGBTIQA+ Australians have experienced verbal abuse in the past 12 months.

How to be part of positive change: become an ally

An ally is someone who supports and advocates for a community other than their own.

Allies can be powerful supporters and raise awareness of issues facing the communities and support family, friends and colleagues.

Here are some ways to be one: 1. Defend LGBTIQA+ people against discrimination – call out inappropriate behaviour if you feel safe to. Let people know that inappropriate jokes, stereotyping and language can be harmful. Being visible and active in your allyship is very important. 2. Respect people’s pronouns. If you’re not sure what they are, just ask. Apologise if you make a mistake, correct yourself and move on. You can also add your pronouns to your email signature or name tag at work, even if you’re cisgender. Find out more about pronouns. 3. Learn about important issues and understand the multiple histories of LGBTIQA+ communities in Sydney and Australia. Our city has a proud history of LGBTIQA+ activism. 5. Create environments visibly welcoming and inclusive for LGBTIQA+ communities. You could display rainbow and Progress Pride Flag items, relevant brochures and posters and wear a rainbow lanyard. If you’re a business or organisation, you might want to register as part of the Welcome Here project. Members receive the Welcome Here rainbow stickers and charter to display in a prominent place to let everyone know that LGBTIQA+ diversity is welcomed and celebrated within their business. 6. Join your workplace LGBTIQA+ employee or ally networks. 7. Celebrate diversity days such as IDAHOBIT, Wear it Purple Day, Trans Day of Visibility and the Trans Day of Remembrance 8. Be an ally for everyone. To be an effective ally, we have to be intersectional, which means we fight for the rights of and equality for everyone regardless of their race, gender identity, disability or sexuality.

At the Pride March during Sydney WorldPride 2023, 50,000 people marched across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in vocal support of LGBTIQA+ people and rights. Photo: Abril Felman / City of Sydney.
At the Pride March during Sydney WorldPride 2023, 50,000 people marched across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in vocal support of LGBTIQA+ people and rights. Photo: Abril Felman / City of Sydney.

Continuous learning

IDAHOBIT is not just about one day. Actions like this can improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth and communities across Australia throughout the year.

Becoming an ally is an ongoing process that you must continually work towards. It’s not just a label you can give yourself.

We all make mistakes and won’t get language or actions correct all of the time.

If you want to find out more about being an ally, check out Pride Training from ACON.

ACON is Australia’s largest health organisation specialising in community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders.

You might also want to check out our article on being a trans ally.

Published 15 May 2023, updated 18 May 2023

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