Today is May 17 when people all over the world stand up for equality and justice for LGBTQ+ people. Organizers of the day have decided to focus on Justice and Protection for All.
Over the past decades, protection of LGBTQI+ people and all people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions or sex characteristics has greatly expanded. This progress is well worth celebrating, and this is why May 17th is also, and maybe foremost, a day for celebration.
But in many places around the world, LGBTQI+ people still face injustice and live in fear and danger, sometimes for their very lives, as was obvious in the case of Tanzania just recently.
The latest ILGA global report on State-Sponsored homophobia lists 72 states that still criminalize same-sex sexual relations. In 45 of these States the law is applied to women as well as men. Many more States restrict the freedom of speech on gender and sexual diversities, or put other forms of legal pressure.
On the other hand, only 63 States provide some form of anti-discrimination protection and in some places, initial progress in Justice has been followed by regression.
This is why more legal and policy reforms are necessary to ensure Justice and Protection for all LGBTQI+ people.
But they alone cannot do everything. While social climates have in some places become better over the years, making people feel safer in their societies, in other places violence, including killings, and stigma have actually increased. Authoritarian and fascist regimes are on the rise and threaten Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and we witness a worrying rise in attempts to whip up moral panics and to scapegoat LGBTQI+ people. And people with diverse gender identities or expressions are still the main targets of social violence and injustice.
On May 17th, individuals, organisations, institutions, corporations, etc. will speak out against LGBTIQI+phobias, continuing our collective journey towards societies that ensure justice and protection for all. In a fair and just world, no one shall be left behind!
Note on Global Focus issues: Each year a large consultation among activists takes place to identify one issue that is considered by most as a priority. But this focus issue is by no means the only possible focus for May 17 mobilisations. Everybody should feel totally free to pursue whichever objective they hold at heart.
Visit the official site to find events near you, download posters, and read news and commentary.