Wednesday, May 17, marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (#IDAHOBIT) 2023. This year’s theme is “Together always: united in diversity.” The theme allows for advocacy and celebrations for an array of groups, including human rights defenders, HIV advocates, LGBTQ civil society groups and allies.

Search #IDAHOBIT on social media for numerous campaigns, announcements and events related to this initiative. Several examples are posted throught this article.

“In a time where the progress made by our LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide is increasingly at risk, it is crucial to recognize the power of solidarity, community and allyship across different identities, movements and borders,” write the event’s organizers on “When we unite, in all our beautiful diversity, we can really bring about change!”

The human rights of LGBTQ people are linked with public health and the HIV epidemic, notes the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in a press statement released ahead of IDAHOBIT, adding that 67 countries still criminalize same-sex relations, and 10 of them impose the death penalty for such relations. In addition, 20 countries criminalize gender diversity.

“The importance of decriminalizing homosexuality and gender diversity cannot be underestimated,” said Christine Stegling, deputy executive director of policy, advocacy and knowledge at UNAIDS in the release. “Decriminalizing will save lives and is a crucial step toward equality, dignity and health for all.”

Laws that criminalize being LGBTQ not only foster discrimination and violence but also prevent LGBTQ people from accessing health services, including HIV prevention, testing and treatment. Specifically, HIV prevalence is five times higher among men who have sex with men in countries where same-sex relations are criminalized compared with countries where they are legal. What’s more, according to UNAIDS, where there have been recent prosecutions, HIV prevalence is 12 times higher.

The International AIDS Society underscored this link when it condemned the recently passed legislation in Uganda that makes it a crime to even identify as LGBTQ—and imposes the death sentence on “aggravated” homosexuality, including sex when the “offender” has HIV.

Brazil is an example of a country making progress in the realm of LGBTQ equality, writes UNAIDS, which also notes that the nation will be participating in a May 17 IDAHOBIT event titled Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate All Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination that focuses on access to care and justice for trans and gender-diverse communities.

IDAHOBIT launched in 2004; May 17 was chosen because on that day in 1990, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. According to, IDAHOBIT is celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.