Wednesday May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It’s a worldwide day to celebrate diverse genders and sexualities and note the tensions between living proudly and living with the stigma that many LGBTQ people face. Its aim is “to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.”
It’s a day to speak, if it’s safe to do so. This lack of safety must be acknowledged, as it isn’t always present. Even in big cities where there may be safety in theory, it’s not a guarantee. Anyone who has been threatened or bashed in Vancouver’s West End can agree with that. PAN member organizations across BC know the stigma of homophobia, bi and transphobia, as well as the added stigma that people living with HIV or HCV face.
Two of PAN’s current community-based research projects are hearing about the impact of stigma in the context of HIV. The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index Project documents experiences of stigma and discrimination from the perspective of people living with HIV. This three-year project will soon be moving into the knowledge translation phase based on data gathered by peer research associates. I was talking recently with Positive Living, Positive Homes coordinator Heather Picotte, who says stigma came up as a theme in that team’s research work as well.
Two events are scheduled in Vancouver to honour the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (or IDAHOT as it’s being tagged on Twitter); one on May 18 and one on May 19.
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Janet Madsen, Capacity Building and Knowledge Translation Coordinator, [email protected]