It’s May 17, and that means IDAHOBIT. For those of you that need a translation today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. May 17 was chosen because in 1990, homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Disease. IDAHOBIT, more than Pride, is a global event whose main aim is to raise awareness about the endemic heterosexism and homophobia of society. Living in Zimbabwe as a black, gay, man, I am aware everyday of how entrenched homophobia and heterosexism can cause immense heartache and pain in many people’s lives. The hatred is media and government sponsored. There is very little space given for gay-friendly voices. And anytime anyone expresses a comment that is remotely anti-hate, they are accused of being gay. That is the society I live in. But as Daniel Radcliffe put it “you don’t have to be gay to be a supporter, you just have to be human”. I can’t believe I’m quoting Harry Potter!
This hatred sometimes becomes internalised leading to self-loathing and in the extreme cases suicide. I have a friend who killed himself a few months ago. His suicide took us all by surprise. I’m not saying that there weren’t any other underlying issues that lead to him taking his life, but the prevailing cloud of hate that we live under surely didn’t do much to help the situation.
I have nothing really to celebrate today. All I can do is stand up proud and be counted as member of amazing global family. All I can do is shout out loud that this is who I am; I am not sick, I don’t need to be saved and my existence does not and should not threaten you or your families. People let’s stop the hate. Love and let love…
Happy Gay Day! Today remember to make a homosexual smile or let a homosexual make you smile!