Next Friday, May 17th marks the 8th annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).  Currently celebrated in more than 100 countries, IDAHO initiatives range widely and span the globe, taking place everywhere from Vietnam, to Egypt, to Macedonia, and even in countries where homosexuality is severely criminalized.  Participants are taking action in the form of flashmobs, film screenings, round tables, rallies and by displaying anti-homophobia posters.   Taking on a less traditional approach, Portugal’s national LGBT youth organization will be giving away free hugs in Lisbon to raise awareness about the day.

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

The May 17th date represents a historic moment in the movement for LGBT rights; the date to celebrate IDAHO was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases in 1990.

At the Commission, we’re also participating in this year’s IDAHO.   The Latinos D group is collaborating with Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico for everyone) to present an anti-homophobia workshop.   Puerto Rico Para Tod@s is a non-profit organization which fights for the inclusion of the LGBT community in social projects and programs;  the organization’s president, Pedro Julio Serrano, will be honored at the Commission’s annual gala, Cielo Latino, which also takes place on May 17, 2013. The Latinos D group is comprised of gay and bisexual  Latino men living in New York.  The group conducts community outreach through social events as well as educational activities and creates a safe space to discuss identity and gender expression. 

The workshop, entitled, Palabras que hieren: El proceso de aceptación de salir del closet, (Words that Hurt: The Process of Acceptance when Coming out of the Closet), will address the process of encountering verbal harassment based on sexual orientation and transforming that experience into a positive one where each person can celebrate his or her identity.  Another main message is to first accept one’s identity, but then to move beyond acceptance and feel strength and pride as a member of the LGBT community.   The session will take place next Wednesday, May 15, starting at 6:30 at the Commission’s NY office.  The workshop will be conducted exclusively in Spanish.


The day before IDAHO, on Thursday May 16th, the Commission’s Juntos Construyendo Network is also launching its ¡libérate! campaign, which will include a press conference at 11 am at the Commission, and a launch party that evening.  Stay tuned for more details about the campaign next week! For a sneak peak…

Here’s a few simple ways to get involved with these initiatives through social media:

Participate in the ¡libérate! campaign by:

  1. Creating your own ¡libérate!  picture or video and posting it on your Facebook or Twitter profile
  2. Liking our Facebook page and posting your pictures and videos at
  3. Following the ¡libérate! Tumblr page at
  4. Mentioning theTwitter handle @gaybi_Latinos and tweeting #liberate to help spread the word!

Participate in the broader IDAHO movement by:

  1. Changing  your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to a pink triangle-the day’s logo
  2. Tweeting #may17IDAHO to make the Twitter trending list

For more info about the Words that Hurt workshop, email Hugo Ovejero at hovejero at

Find out more about Puerto Rico Para Tod@s’ full month of activities in celebration of IDAHO here:

More info about IDAHO activities in your area can be found here:

Written by Aleise Barnett


The Institute for Latinx Health Equity is a growing collaborative of public health researchers, behavioral scientists, community leaders, capacity building specialists and social justice advocates. We strive to disseminate information about issues pertinent to health disparities and inequity. Follow us, join us, comment and add your voice to ours.

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