Wednesday, May 22, 2013
New Zealand is one of more than 50 countries taking part in IDAHO on Friday 17 May.
IDAHO calls attention to the discrimination and violence faced by people all over the world simply on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
It is a concept that began in Canada in 2004 and has since gone global. It is celebrated on May 17 every year – the date commemorates the World Health Organisation’s decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.
There is a raft of activities planned around the world and around New Zealand – check them out on the official IDAHO Facebook page.
What can you do?
If you can’t get to one of the events planned for IDAHO this year, there are a range of things you can do to show support for IDAHO and help make a change in your community.
We can all challenge stereotypes and address homophobia. This isn’t always easy to do but by being prepared to respond to homophobic comments and slurs in the same way as you would with racism or sexism, you not only let those who make such comments know it is unacceptable, you are also signaling your support for those people who are the subject of such comments.
If you are a parent or caregiver
Support your young person’s gender expression and believe that they can have a happy future as an LGBT adult.
Take a look on our website at our information for parents and caregivers. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) are a New Zealand organisation that offers everything from support groups to resources. Take a look at their website for more support.
If you are working with young people
Have a good look around the place where you work. For many intersex, transgender or gender-identity questioning young people, having access to appropriate toilets or changing rooms can be difficult. Is it possible to provide unisex facilities?
If you are a teacher
Think about your language – is it inclusive and gender neutral? For example, something as simple as using the term “partner” instead of “boyfriend”.
Don’t assume that everyone is in a heterosexual relationship or that the young people you’re teaching are living with both biological parents.
Family Planning runs Affirming Diversity, a course for teachers on gender and diversity issues.
Contact our health promotion team for details of a course near you.
The challenge with all these strategies is to effectively and consistently put them into practice so that over time, they become an entrenched and automatic part of everyday life.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information about IDAHO.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.