International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
Many faith communities and organizations around the world commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) every year on May 17. These faith communities and organizations not only come together to highlight the intersections of faith and sexuality to remember victims of homo/bi/transphobia and to stand against religiously based homophobia and transphobia but also, predominantly, to raise the voices of progressive faith leaders in supporting the positive role of world religions and faith communities in shaping inclusive societies.
This year, the IDAHO Committee, together with the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups (a partner of ReconcilingWorks in Europe), encourages individuals, organizations and faith communities to be apart of the Global Prayer Initiative, and initiative that aims to bring together different faith communities, denominations and groups to bring their voices to the IDAHO 2013 commemorations.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
One of the simplest and yet most powerful ways to be involved in the Global Prayer Initiative is to organize a vigil. Vigils can be a powerful tool to draw attention to the mindless acts of intolerance and religiously based homophobia and transphobia. Vigils carry a certain weight that is symbolic in so many contexts, whether religious, spiritual, commemorative or memorial. Consider gathering your faith community (congregation, campus ministry, RIC chapter, etc.) and come together to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.
IDAHO activities are not meant to replace pride events (which happen at various times throughout the year in different locales) or Reconciling in Christ Sunday, celebrated in many RIC congregations and settings in late January. IDAHO augments all of these commemorations by increasing international awareness of LGBT-related issues.
Sparking discussions and dialogue around homophobia and transphobia are a great way that faith communities can bring about change in their places of worship. Interfaith communities also have the opportunity to bridge the divides between communities where there are still homophobic and transphobic sensitivities. Consider promoting a dialogue between different faith communities, with other religious denominations becoming a platform for information interchange and collective action.
Send a message via Twitter or YouTube with the hashtag #IDAHOglobalprayer. Tweet your thoughts and prayers using the designated hashtag, or create a video offering your thoughts and well-wishes toward those who have faced stigma and discrimination within their lives. Also, consider making a YouTube video with a warm thought or prayer in honor of those who have faced homophobia or transphobia.
WHY IS YOUR PARTICIPATION IMPORTANT?
Your action is important, because:
- Your candle can drive out darkness by raising public awareness of homo/bi/transpobia,
- Your prayer has the power to unite faith communities in fighting hatred, brutality and violence towards LGBTQI people,
- Your action can help build strategic alliances to further promote interfaith and inter-religious dialogue in your community, country or region.
SUPPORT FOR VIGILS:
- For 2013, the IDAHO vigils will be based on these Biblical passages: 1 John 3:13-18 and 1 John 4:18-21. Organizers of vigils are encouraged to use the theme of “There is no fear in love”, taken from the second of these passages.
- The international organizers of the vigils are asking planners of local vigils to submit the dates of their events on the IDAHO website.
- Longer introduction to IDAHO
- Logo template for vigils to help publicize them (example of where words can be placed on the graphic)
- Suggested order for a vigil
- Vigils are meant to include a remembrance of some of the victims of homophobia and a telling of stories about experiences of homophobic violence. Here is one story.
- For more resources, see the IDAHO website (www.dayagainsthomophobia.org)