Gay group prepares for anti-homophobia day

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Following protests over the Moscow Pride ban and the successful launch of IDAHO-UK (IDAHO), campaigners across the country are busy arranging the events which are seen as an integral part of the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May 2006.

IDAHO will be in the heart of London this year, as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) police liaison officers operate from a mobile police station in Leicester Square throughout the day.

PC Anita Simmons said “We will be giving out information on how to combat homophobic crime, and raising awareness about homophobia in the UK and abroad-at the same time we want to talk about the resources which have been developed to address

these problems.”

The East London Out Project (ELOP) is one of the few groups involved for

the second year running in arranging an IDAHO event. In the lead up to May 17th, ELOP have been widely promoting their “Zero Tolerance-Report It” campaign, along with “stop homophobia” ribbons and a stamp out homophobia postcard campaign targeted at schools and educational settings.

Sarah Humphreys from ELOP said “We think IDAHO is an extremely important campaign and we strongly encourage voluntary organisations to get involved, even at this late stage.”

In the evening there will be a chance to see “X” -a sensitive piece of promenade theatre about homophobia, written by playwright Tony Stowers, it has been described as “a modern-day tale of love, loss, sex and identity”.

The plight of LGBT asylum seekers has been central to the concerns of IDAHO, and therefore the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) in establishing IDAHO in this country is organising a demonstration outside the Home Office about their plight. –

The first IDAHO event of the year will take place on May 9 at 830pm and has been arranged by South London Gays.

The 2006 UK IDAHO campaign will be rounded off with a public meeting

about the plight of the LGBT community in Iraq, which has been organised by GALHA.

Brighton and Hove Council are likely to be the first city in the UK to officially recognise IDAHO. Green Party councillors, Bill Randall and Simon Williams have tabled a motion to the council, to be debated on 4th May, that declares the city’s “support and solidarity” for IDAHO and requests that the council fly the rainbow flag from a main council building on 17th May”.

The British Council will be flying the Rainbow flag and raising awareness of IDAHO in variety of offices worldwide and have produced anti-homophobic teaching resources for their worldwide language school network.

Derek Lennard, IDAHO UK Co-ordinator said ” It seems that even now-so close to May 17th-more and more areas of the country are planning to hold IDAHO events. The latest city to join us is Birmingham, and I can guarantee there will be at least one IDAHO event there this year.

“But what is even more encouraging is that campaigners are looking to the future-I have heard today to my amazement that a trade union is planning an IDAHO launch event for 2007.

“It must be absolutely clear to everyone that IDAHO is not only here to stay, but

it will grow and grow.”

Information about all events can be found on the IDAHO-uk website.