WATCH: #WhyWeFight UN ‘Free & Equal’ video marking #IDAHOT2016

Why do we need a worldwide day to defend LGBT rights?

At least 81 countries in the world criminalize same sex relationships. This means that 40% of the world population (or 2.8 billion people) are not free to choose who they love. Millions of homosexual and bisexual people live in a constant state of fear. In 10 countries, the death penalty can be applied for same sex acts.

A multitude of countries do not offer any form of legal recognition of trans and gender variant people’s true gender. With few exceptions, in almost all countries, which provide legal gender recognition, trans and gender variant people face compulsory psychiatric treatment and in the majority of countries even sterilization if they want their true gender to be recognized.

Sexual and gender minorities face public stigmatization, police violence, state repression, attacks and murders. Their most basic human rights are being denied daily. The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia estimate that 70% of the world’s population lives under laws, regulations and practices which severely restrict freedom of expression.

Since 2005, May 17th has been dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, marking the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. It constitutes an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

May 17th is now celebrated in more than 120 countries, with advocates staging hundreds of activities, events and actions all over the world. These mobilisations unite millions of people in support for the upholding of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The Day has been given official recognition by many authorities at all levels, from city councils to parliaments and governments. European institutions and many UN agencies mark the Day each year with special events.

The global movement for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equality encompasses millions of individuals, groups, organizations and campaigns all of whom are fighting for change in their own countries and communities.

To celebrate the International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia on 17 May 2016, the United Nations Free and Equal campaign asked people to help create a video that captures some of the strength and spirit that LGBT activists and allies bring to their work, and the sheer diversity of causes that help make up the movement globally. The result is a celebration of activism – and a reminder of why we fight.

Read more on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia website. Watch other campaign videos, on the UN Free & Equal website.

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