70 countries celebrate Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

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More than 70 countries around the world held events to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) yesterday.

The day, in its seventh year, saw hundreds of events held in countries including Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya, where campaigners risked threats and violence to call for equal rights.

It is estimated that 50 million people were exposed to IDAHO’s messages of tolerance and acceptance.

According to IDAHO’s organising committee, activists in hostile countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Cameroon and Nigeria held public conferences, radio debates, artistic performances and community gatherings.

In Latin America, 14 countries and dozens of human rights groups condemned ‘gay cure’ therapies, warning that they can lead to mental illness and even suicide. The ‘Cures that Kill’ campaign led to marches, rallies and other events.

Eastern European activists reportedly suffered violence and harassment when they tried to stage events in countries such as Montenegro and Belarus. Moscow said it would continue to ban Pride marches.

Gay rights activists in Hong Kong accused police of intimidation and harassment for breaking up a rally in the city. It is claimed that officers filmed participants and threatened to arrest them.

Burkina Faso, Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago all held IDAHO events for the first time. Both the European Union and United Nations marked the day with speeches and events, as did most European countries.

In the UK, foreign office minister Jeremy Browne released a message to say the country “strongly” supports the initiative, while events were held around the country.

Worldwide, an estimated 17 million people read a copy of the international Metro, which was guest-edited by Lady Gaga and included LGBT-friendly messages.