Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia 2018 around Asia

Kathmandu (Pahichan) July 13 – ILGA Asia collected information on the events taking on and around the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Asia this year. Here is what happened.
On the occasion of Pride Week and IDAHOTB celebration in Cambodia, same-sex couples decided to declare their commitment to each other and tie knot in public, hoping to raise awareness about LGBTI rights. The couples entered into Cambodia’s version of civil partnership known as the Declaration of Family Relationship (DoFR), which is gaining popularity across the country.

Leading LGBTI organization, Rainbow Community Kampuchea-rock (RoCK) created the DoFR. In 2014, RoCK became Cambodia’s first registered LGBTI non-government organization. RoCK has helped introduce the DoFR 50 communes in 15 provinces around Cambodia.

On May 13th, a student organization at Affiliated High School of Peking University (北大附中, also known as BDFZ) announced on the WeChat account of Verge Magazine that it would be selling t-shirts with the rainbow pattern in an effort to promote LGBT rights on the occasion of IDAHOTB.

Student organizations from several other public schools have initiated similar projects in concert with BDFZ. Campaign organizers say that 10 percent of the revenue will be donated to the Beijing LGBT Center, a charity organization that provides mental health consulting, HIV screening, and legal services to LGBT people in the Beijing area.

Also inspired by BDFZ’s campaign, Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University (北师大实验中学, also known as SDSZ) launched a similar not-for-profit t-shirt sale. “No More Homophobia” is the campaign’s name. They received 200 pre-orders within a day.

Authorities in several regions in China have allegedly stopped LGBT rights events for the forthcoming International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

A member of a Guangzhou-based LGBT rights organization said that their event scheduled on the International Day against Homophobia, which falls on May 17, was considered an “illegal gathering” and was canceled by the local public security and cultural bureau.

An event scheduled on May 17 by another Shanghai-based LGBT rights organization was also stopped, and the related department gathered the information of participants to make sure “no one will do something” on that day.

Community Business a leading not-for-profit organisation advancing responsible and inclusive business practices in Asia, revealed the winners of its 2018 Hong Kong LGBT+ Inclusion Awards in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT).

The Hong Kong LGBT+ Inclusion Awards are the first annual awards honouring and celebrating LGBT+ inclusion in Hong Kong. Community Business introduced several new award categories in 2018, bringing the total this year to 12. The award nominations were assessed based on the extent to which they are strategic, proactive, impactful and sustainable in order to recognise a public figure who has used their influence to promote LGBT+ inclusion in Hong Kong.

On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) (May 17), the International Commission of Jurists has called for an end to criminalisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities and to respect, protect and fulfill the full range of their human rights. The Commission has observed that discriminatory laws across South Asia have enabled socially constructed gender and sexual norms to intimidate and even threaten violence against LGBTI persons. In a statement, the jurists have urged South Asian states to repeal discriminatory laws against LGBTI.
The State government of Kerala will make policies to bring sexual and gender minorities to the mainstream, Minister for Tourism has said at the two-day first anniversary celebration of Queerythym, which works in the city for the welfare of the LGBTIQ community, and on the occasion of International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) here on Saturday.

Kerala has been a model for the rest of the country in many aspects, and should lead the way in empowerment of sexual and gender minorities. The State recently witnessed a marriage between a transman and a transwoman. The Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) had set up a continuous education programme for transgenders. The government had recommended setting up a cooperative society for transgenders. It was also making efforts to identify new job avenues for the transgender people.

Indian television celebrities stand in solidarity against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and all forms of hate facing the LGBTQ community across the globe.
Celebrating the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), an event took place at Baudh Shodh Sansthan. Anchored by Sayed Raza and Jerrmayah, the highlight of the event was a fashion show in which members of the LGBTIQ community walked the ramp showcasing designer outfits, followed by a cultural programme in which several plays and stage performances were presented.

The event began with welcoming the audience and the chief guests and giving a brief introduction about them and their individual contribution towards IDAHOT. It was followed by Ardhnarshewar Dance performance by Ritwik, an activist of the LGBTIQ Community. Later, a panel discussion by Deepak Kabir, Payal and Sadaf Jafer had everyone glued on their seats. Several short films made by Darvesh on the community were also screened at the event.

The event concluded on a high note with an alluring kathak ballet presented by a group of dancers followed by a ramp walk by the members of LGBTIQ community who put their most fashionable foot forward.

The number of private and semi-governmental psychological and psychiatric institutions and clinics treating homosexuals has seen a significant increase in the last year, despite the Islamic Republic officials’ denial during a UN session in March 2017, of promoting psychological and psychiatric reparative therapies to change individuals’ sexual orientations and gender identities.

6Rang’s (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network’s) findings, published on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), show that the use of reparative therapies such as electric shock therapy to hands and genitalia, prescribing psychoactive medication, hypnosis, [coercive] masturbation to pictures of the opposite sex, etc., on gay and lesbian individuals has continually increased. According to international [human rights] law, the use of medicinal or medical methods to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes torture.

Several events that celebrated pride were held in Lebanon by several NGOs and personal initiatives. Pride Events were held over the month of May by several NGOs working on Gender and Sexuality such as MOSAIC, Helem, AFE, Lebmash, and Legal Agenda.

Another initiative under the name of “Beirut Pride” which provides a platform for variety of events celebrating pride was supposed to run from May 12 to 20 in the program of IDAHOT 2018. However, the director of Beirut Pride Week was arrested on the evening of Monday 14 May following complaints from critics. He was subsequently interrogated for allegedly “encouraging debauchery and offending public decency”.

On May 17th 2018, well-known LGBTIQAs-focused local non-profit organization that works on promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTIQAs in Myanmar hosted “International Day Against Homophobia, Trans-phobia and Bi-phobia”. In Yangon, LGBT organisations Colors Rainbow, & Proud and Kings N Queens met in Yangon’s Hledan Centre to raise awareness about LGBT human rights. The event featured panel discussions with author Moe Thet Han and parents of LGBT children as well as a drag talent show. Embassies in Myanmar also marked the IDAHOT event by flying rainbow flags.

In Mandalay city, local LGBT organizations such as C.A.N-Myanmar, Bright Pride Myanmar Lesbian organization, TRY(CBO) in coordination with other HIV-prevention organizations gathered to host an IDAHOT event in Hotel Marvel with “PFLAG-Myanmar Theme”(Parents, Friends and Families of LGBTIQAs) in which outstanding persons for LGBTIQA movement in Myanmar since its first initiation up until the following year 2018, counting about (10) years, were acknowledged and honored by the newly founded “Myanmar LGBITQAs Awards Nomination Committee”.

Similar IDAHOTB events are held in Pakokku, Shwe-Bo, Pathein and Taunggyi townships respectively.

Transgender people in Nepal held the Miss Pink Beauty pageant in Kathmandu on May 17th, 2018 to mark International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Miss Pink beauty pageant initially took place in 2004 to promote safe sex practices such as using condom and lubricants. Over the years, the event has grown into an opportunity for LGBTI people to show their hidden talents, and to show society that they are equal and they have equal human rights. The pageant has touched many lives and has inspired many transgender women in Nepal.

Blue Diamond Society Nepal organized and involved various events on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia this year. That included the theater show “Jinudo Akash” – the story of a transgender woman by well-known artists; “Miss Pink 2018” – transgender talent competition (above); and the “Rainbow flag raising Ceremony” at United Nation Office in Kathmandu.

Moreover, travel and trekking agencies in Nepal organized rafting adventurous event for LGBTI people to show their alliance for solidarity. They are committed to equal employment opportunity to LGBTI individuals in the fields of trekking guide, rafting guide, canoeing guide, and kayaking guide. In the future, the agencies will involve them in hotels and restaurants industry as well. They will train the interested candidates for the chosen activities and prepare them to acquire the respective license. They agreed to share 15% of the total transaction involving the LGBTI guests with BDS to show their Corporate Social Responsibility.

On May 8th, 2018, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act marking a landmark moment regarding transgender rights in Pakistan. The proposed law enables trans people to be recognized as they perceive themselves and register with the government institutions as transgender. It also provides them basic rights and prohibits discrimination by educational institutions, employers, in trade and health services, and when using public transport and buying or selling or renting a property they because of their gender identity.

As a part of the celebration for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, Naz Pakisan organised a dinner to congratulate the recent passing of the highly progressive Act. The event was attended by LGBT community and allies, transgender activists, feminist organizers, and others, marking the day as an important milestone in the transgender rights movement in Pakistan, and signaling the potential for emergence of a new era of acceptance and empowerment of queer communities.

Sub Rang & Humraz joined the youth activists, young LGBTI people, and civil society to commemorate the annual IDAHOT, an important reminder – to all of us – that the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) matters deeply for sustainable development. It matters because it is about fighting discrimination and promoting social inclusion.

The proposed agenda included showing documentaries, playing trans animated videos, sharing stories, open mic and Q/A session. The discussion concluded that we never had only one characteristic by which we self-identified, or by which others identified us. We had multiple identities by which society recognized us, as well as how we identified ourselves – be it real or perceived – our race, our gender, our ethnicity, our “SOGI”, and many more.

This is where the theme of IDAHOT 2018 came in: the shared exclusion helped us understand that we needed to have one another’s back – through creating powerful alliances.

On the Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, fanpage of the Democratic Party shared a photo of rainbow flag saying: The Democrat Party, as a part of Thai society, is committed to promoting equal rights and opportunities for all Thai people.

“Even though our society is becoming more open [to gender and sexual diversity], but the right of two people [of the same sex] who want to live together as a family is not yet recognized. I have no problem accepting the law, and I am ready to push for it,” said Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party.

“Thai people are very tolerant of sexual diversity. It’s time to review the laws blocking fundamental rights and equality for all. Today is the day to end hatred for same sex couples. I strongly support the idea,” said Korn Chatikavanij, Chairman of the Democrat Party.

Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand in Chonburi organized an event on May 17th, 2018 to commemorate IDAHOTB.
Museum Siam unveiled its latest exhibition, titled “Gender Illumination”, to highlight gender diversity and related issues – from history, lifestyle, gender roles, struggles and acceptance, as well as the much discussed genderless restroom and marriage equality – as found within the context of Thai society.

On the day, panel discussions, workshops and performances by members of the LGBTI communities and partner organisations were held alongside the exhibition’s launch at the museum in the afternoon.

On May 17th, 2018, Taiwan Marriage Equality Coalition held at the Legislative Yuan – the legislative body of Taiwan – to speak about their recent initiative “Ten thousand times your words wounding me”. The campaign is a collection of stories about LGBTI individuals, also referred to as comrades in Chinese, who were facing stigma and prejudices from their family and society. The initiative lasted for 2 days with 100 responses.

There was a common impression that Taiwanese society had been changing dramatically over the last 20 years on gender and sexual diversity issues, the LGBTI movement had been flourishing, and LGBTI people had more room to be themselves. However, this campaign had exposed the darker side through dialogues between family members. Religious groups had been well-endowed with resources to campaign against LGBTI people and deepen stigma against the community.

Hanoi continued to hold its annual BUBU Town – the land of freedom, tolerance and equality – on May 20th, 2018. BUBU stands for Be Unique, Be U, sending the message that everyone is free to express themselves, to be who they are. This year’s edition, BUBU Foreverland, was a reminder to all members of the LGBTIQ community and allies that there was no fairy godmother who could rescue you from your situation, and there was no villain who could stop you from being yourself. The event encouraged LGBTI people to stand up for themselves and own their life, to be the hero of their own story.
The United Nations in Vietnam showed its support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender a