Community News

Standing Against Hate: Brighton marks IDAHOBIT

May 20, 2024

Standing Against Hate: Brighton marks IDAHOBIT 2024 with Community Activism

On May 17, the vibrant Ledward Centre pulsed with the energy of unity and resistance as the community came together to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This annual event, which raises awareness of LGBTQ+ rights and combats discrimination, saw community, activists and allies participate in an inclusive and impactful evening.

Rainbow Chorus

The Importance of IDAHOBIT

IDAHOBIT, observed globally, commemorates the World Health Organisation‘s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. This day has since evolved into a powerful symbol of resistance against LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence.

“This event is crucial,” said Shanni Collins, from Brighton & Hove City Council‘s LGBTQ Workers’ Forum and LGBTQ+ rights advocate. “It’s not just about celebrating progress but also about acknowledging the ongoing struggles faced by our community worldwide.”

Brighton, known for its inclusive spirit and robust LGBTQ+ community, marked IDAHOBIT with an event designed to educate and inspire. Led by Unite the Union – putting its money where its mouth is and advocating for real systemic change and community led organisations – the city showcased its commitment to equality and justice.

Sarah Savage

The event with the harmonic opulence of Brighton’s Rainbow Chorus, which shared a series of perfectly pitched songs celebrating community, chosen family and ending with the iconic This is Me. Meg, chair of the Rainbow Chorus, said: “Brighton has always been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK, our community’s strength lies in our diversity and our unwavering support for one another.”

Dr Emma Lewis, a psychologist specialising in LGBTQ+ issues, emphasised the importance of mental health support. “Events like these provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences and find solidarity. It’s a reminder that we are not alone.”

Speakers included: Ziggy Hopkins, TNBI community peer, writer and activist; Damian McCarthy & Tomas Green from Unite South East; Michael Hydes from the Metropolitan Community Church, who spoke of the power of communities; Sarah Savage from Trans Pride Brighton & Hove, who spoke on the strength of the local and national community, the phenomenal growth and affirmation of Trans Pride and the essential support of allies; Dave Jones, who offered the wisdom of community memory drawing sharp parallels between the misinformation and targeting of queer people during Section 28 and the current culture wars against trans communities; and Sian Berry, parliamentary candidate for the Green Party, who answered some community questions.

Michael Hydes

Sophie Patel, who went along to watch, shared her experience: “Being alongside so many people who share a common goal was incredibly empowering. It reminded me that our collective voice is strong and that we can make a difference.”

A Global Perspective

While Brighton’s IDAHOBIT celebrations were a testament to local solidarity, they also connected with a global movement. Activists highlighted the importance of international cooperation in combating LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence.

“IDAHOBIT is a reminder that our fight is not isolated,” said Maria Rodriguez, an international human rights activist. “It’s part of a broader struggle for human rights and dignity. We must continue to support our brothers and sisters worldwide who face persecution and violence.”

As the evening came to a close, the message was clear: while progress has been made, the journey toward equality is far from over. Activists called for continued vigilance and action to address the persistent challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

“Today is a day of both celebration and reflection,” said Damian McCarthy. “We honour how far we’ve come, but we also recommit to the work that still needs to be done. Every act of activism, no matter how small, contributes to the larger goal of equality.” Learn more about Unite the Union South East here

A Call to Action

Brighton’s IDAHOBIT 2024 was not just an event but a call to action. It reminded the community of their collective power and the importance of standing together against hate. As the rainbow flags were lowered and the crowds dispersed, the spirit of the day lingered, urging all to continue the fight for a more just and inclusive world.

“It is now more important than ever that we reject the divisive culture wars and dehumanising rhetoric that seeks to split our community and turn us,our allies and the working class across the world against each other. “said Tomas Green from Unite

“We are stronger together,” said Billie Lewis, manager of the Ledward Centre. “And together, we will continue to push for a world where everyone can live without fear of discrimination or violence. ”