Following other initiatives such as the National Day Against Homophobia created in 2003 in the Quebec province of Canada by the Fondation Emergence and celebrated in June, Louis-Georges Tin, a French university lecturer, campaigner for Black and LGBT Rights and chief editor of the «Dictionary of Homophobia», launched in August 2004 an initiative to create an International Day Against Homophobia that is global in scope. He launched an appeal « For a universal recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia » (IDAHO) and proposed that this day be fixed on May 17th, to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.
By May 17th 2005, as a result of a year long campaigning effort, 24000 people worldwide and reputed international organisations like ILGA, IGLHRC, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the Coalition of African lesbians, to name but a few, had signed the “IDAHO appeal”. In May 2005 already, the IDAHO saw some activities take place in many countries in the world. The first LGBT events ever were organised in Congo, China and Bulgaria. Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament made a statement supporting the IDAHO and invited Tin to the conference the EU Parliament organised for IDAHO 2006.
By that time a new campaign had been launched calling « For a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality » and by May 17th 2006 it had attracted support from several Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, José Saramago), artists (Merryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie),intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bernard-Henri Lévy), NGOs (ILGA, FIDH), politicians, etc…
For IDAHO 2006 again, the IDAHO Committee and GayRussia co-organised the first GayPride in Moscow, preceded by an International IDAHO conference that brought together many activists, organisations and politicians from around Europe and North America. In July 2006, thanks to the efforts of Fondation Emergence, the Montreal Conference on LGBT Human Rights, organised in the wake of the Outgames, included in its Declaration of Montreal a strong recommendation to all Governments to recognise May 17th as the International Day Against Homophobia. MORE