IDAHO looks to next May 17th

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) campaign is already being planned for 2008.

Last year, the 3rd international IDAHO was marked across the UK and the world.

In over 50 countries on and around May 17th 2007 events took place and there were more than 100 initiatives and events in the this country.

For the first time all parts of the UK were involved, as the IDAHO habit gripped such cities and areas as Liverpool, Southampton, Bradford, Northampton, Bristol, Lancaster, Tyne and Wear and Yorkshire.

Meanwhile, IDAHO veterans in London, Brighton, Oldham, Manchester, Sheffield, Surrey, Gloucestershire and Kent marked the day with bigger than ever events.

IDAHO initiatives in Scotland were marked by an enthusiastic contribution from LGBT Youth and an Amnesty International campaign.

IDAHO was also celebrated for the first in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Students at the University of Arts in London designed posters celebrating the diversity of the LGBT community, and addressing world homophobia.

Manchester’s Lesbian and Gay Foundation announced a new major initiative aimed at ending homophobia through education, called Exceeding Expectations, and showcased this initiative at a major event at Manchester Town Hall.

The subject of homophobic bullying was also tackled in development workshops commissioned and co-produced by Queer up North and Stonewall.

In 2007 hate crime was a major concern of IDAHO campaigners, and this was reflected in many events and initiatives.

The BBC reported that there had been a series of hate crime arrests to mark IDAHO.

New campaigns to tackle hate crime were launched in Brighton, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. 120 people attended a major event organised by Gay Surrey to highlight these issues.

In Brighton, campaigners released 77 lanterns on the seafront, to mark the 77 countries where homosexuality is a crime.

Merseyside Police illuminated police headquarters with the colours of the rainbow flag, and announced the relaunching of their Gay and Lesbian Support Network.

At least 50 local authorities marked the day with the raising of the rainbow flag, and many held ceremonies, which included a minute’s noise against homophobia, which had originally been suggested by campaigners in Sheffield, who also held a major event.

Politically, IDAHO-UK received messages of support from all the major political parties.

The UK government chose IDAHO day to make a major statement on their plans for tackling world homophobia and transphobia and the Liberal Democrats hosted an event in the House of Commons on the subject of homophobic bullying.

Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, also submitted an Early Day Motion to the House of Commons concerning the Universal Decriminalisation of Homophobia, which was supported by close to 100 MPs.

Mr Williams also hosted an eve of IDAHO event at the House of Commons, which was addressed by representatives of the British Youth Council, who also organised a very successful demonstration outside the Polish Embassy on IDAHO day.

Planning is already underway for IDAHO on Saturday 17th May 2008.

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