International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia was founded in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer (LGBTQ+) people.
The day is celebrated on 17 May each year to coincide with the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. It is an opportunity to drive positive change and to remember that there is still a way to go until all LGBTQ+ people are free and safe from harm. The theme for 2023 is Together Always: United in Diversity.
Support and resources at USW
There are a number of sources of support, advice and information for University of South Wales students and colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+.
LGBTQ+ Role Models
USW LGBTQ+ Role Models are volunteers who are passionate about promoting LGBTQ+ equality within the University. They act as a point of contact for colleagues and students who are encountering an LGBTQ+ issue and want to talk about it with an person who is identifies as LGBTQ+.
Trans Support / Resources
Links to resources with further support and information for trans students and student peers, trans colleagues, and members of the University community who identify as trans. If your question isn't answered here, please see USW's LGBT+ Support and Information page.
LGBTQ+ Reading List
A reading list featuring the works of LGBTQ+ authors and texts which focus on LGBTQ+ themes.
The Students' Union's LGBT+ Society is a safe place for people of all sexualities to socialise with no fear of judgement. The society allows members to connect and help change things across the university. They meet at least monthly and arrange many social events throughout the academic year.
Dignity at Study Advisers
Dignity at Study Advisers are a first point of contact for colleagues and students, and listen to concerns in a non-judgmental way. They provide advice and information and raise awareness of the support available for colleagues and students experiencing harassment or bullying.
Report and Support
Everyone has the right to feel safe and supported. If you experience or witness an incident of concern at USW, you can tell us by submitting a report using our dedicated Report and Support tool.
Gender Identity Glossary
A glossary of terms relating to gender identity. Please note that different people find different terms acceptable. You should always ask a person what terms they prefer when talking to them / referring to them. When speaking to someone, you could ask them ‘what does that mean for you?’
Dignity at Work Advisers
Dignity at Work Advisers meet with colleagues and students who have concerns over bullying behaviour.
SPECTRUM: LGBTQ+ And Allies Colleague Network
Spectrum is a collective of LGBTQ+ colleagues and supportive allies. All colleagues are welcome to join; the group is actively seeking members from diverse backgrounds to ensure representation of everyone.
In addition to the support offered by the University of South Wales, there are many organisations doing good work to support people who identify as LGBTQ+. For a list of more organisations who support equality and diversity, please head to our Inclusion Resources page.
If you would like to recommend an organisation that's not listed below, please get in touch at [email protected].
Stonewall Cymru provide support for LGBTQ+ people and their allies. They are committed to empowering people to create change in their own communities.
Trans Aid Cymru
Trans Aid Cymru helps Transgender, Non-Binary and Intersex (TIN) people through mutual aid support. It is run by TIN people for TIN people, making it understanding of the community needs.
TransUnite is a comprehensive resource for people in the UK searching for support in the transgender community. Their directory help connect people to an established network of trans support groups.
support to anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ and has suffered domestic abuse,
sexual violence or hate crime.
Mermaids supports transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children and young people until their 20th birthday, as well as their families and professionals involved in their care.
transEDU is an online resource for colleagues and students in Further and Higher Education.
Ray Vincent, Associate Chaplain
The first International Day Against Homophobia was held on May 17, 2005. We have seen much progress in Britain and some other countries since then, but there is still much room for improvement. Legislation can deter people from doing the wrong things, but it doesn't necessarily change people’s attitudes. There are still many people who are rejected by their families, employers, faith communities and other circles because of who they love or how they identify on the gender spectrum. As a gay man. I am delighted to be part of a Chaplaincy team that is totally committed to a community in which LGBTQ+ people can feel safe and valued.
This Day we are celebrating was international from the start. Thanks to a year-long preparatory campaign, numerous organizations and thousands of people all over the world joined in that first day in 2005, and the number continues to increase. The international dimension is as important as ever. There are still over 70 countries where LGBT+ people can be imprisoned or even executed. Many people from those countries are part of our community here at the University of South Wales, and we have the opportunity not only to support those who are personally affected but also to influence those who will become leaders of thought and policy in those countries and help to shape their culture.
The day has grown in scope as well. The original IDAHO was changed to IDAHOT in 2009 to include concern for trans people. In 2015, recognizing that bisexual people have their own challenges to face, the name became IDAHOBIT. The list, of course, could go on. People who identify by various other definitions – non-binary, pansexual, queer, asexual etc. – may well feel excluded, not to mention the intersectionality dimension represented by those who identify with more than one minority.
Drawing attention to categories of people whose identity and problems are in danger of being ignored is often necessary, but when labels multiply and become permanent they can be divisive – more and more groups competing for attention and fighting for their own rights rather than working together for a more open and understanding society. There can be a tendency for anyone who expresses reservations or, simply out of ignorance and inexperience, uses insensitive or inappropriate language, to be labelled as a bigot rather than helped to understand. This can kill off reasonable discussion and lead to people avoiding conversation altogether.
We all have the right to be ourselves, but at the same time we live in a plural community, and if it is to hold together, we need to listen to one another and try to be magnanimous. The theme for this year’s IDAHOBIT is ‘Together Always: United in Diversity’ - words well worth thinking about.
I hope for a future in which we won’t need a day ‘against’ anything but will celebrate all the year round the rich variety of the ways we express ourselves and love one another.
Riley Rattray, LGBT+ (Trans) Student Council Officer at USW Students' Union
Hi. Some of you may not know who I am but my name is Riley Rattray, and I am the current LGBT+ (Trans) Student Council Officer for the University of South Wales’ SU. Essentially, I make sure the voice of the student and the LGBT+ Community is heard within the SU and the University.
Last year, on Treforest Campus, a slight change was made. Just one thing. A flag was put up. To be precise, the Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride Flag was put up in place of the traditional Rainbow flag we are all familiar with. It’s a change not many people would’ve thought of. But it’s a change people would take notice of. That was an idea I put forward. Here’s why.
I suggested such a change because I felt it was important. Because it was the right thing to do. On this International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, I felt it was right to point out the importance of support, recognition and respect in these dark times. This day not only points out the hatred that still drives the fight for our right to be ourselves but also has us remember those we have lost along the way.
We live in an age where I think things aren’t working in favour of the LGBT+ community, especially the Transgender, Non-Binary and Intersex (T.I.N) people of the British Isles in the most recent light of the Conversion Therapy Ban. With this in mind I hope the flag is also a beacon of hope to students on our campuses and in our local communities.
This flag is one of many different ways to represent that the Human Race is a very diverse life form, and we need time to remember and respect that diversity. Some may not understand or relate to such things and that is ok. But that never meant you couldn’t take the time to get to know it. And not understanding something has never warranted hate. Nor should it ever. But sadly, some people see it as such and even in the 2020s we still have to fight for our right to be seen and heard.
The power flags hold is immense. It can unite entire crowds of people. It can have random strangers talking to one another. It can also have people think differently. Opening their eyes to new thoughts and ideas. The Pride flag has always managed this.
But the key power behind the Pride Flag’s newest variation is its ability to make not only the LGBT+ community as a whole feel heard, noticed and respected but also the voices of Trans and Intersex individuals as well as People of Colour. Representation can make people feel welcome. It can bring people out of the dark and feel comfier with not only being open to others but themselves too. For some it can even draw out some positive feels including euphoria. A word that’s commonly used within the LGBT+ community.
By the power of this flag people can begin to feel happier about being open and honest to others and sometimes themselves too. It is the most beautiful thing to see, hear and feel happen whether its your friend, your family member or yourself. For someone to blossom. It is with this goal in mind I made sure this variant of the Pride Flag would wave above our heads as we walk from one place to another. And I’d rather not have it any other way.
Becky Davies, Senior Lecturer in Therapeutic Studies
I am a Senior Lecturer who identifies as lesbian/queer and AFAB (assigned female at birth) and I am in a civil partnership with a non-binary/trans person who happened to work with me as part of the same course team at the University for several years.
In many of the education-based settings I attended growing up, you would frequently come across members of staff who were known by both staff and students to be in a committed heterosexual relationship and/or were married. Sometimes this was simply because they shared the same surname, or were introduced to new staff and students as such in a straightforward manner at the start of each academic year. The knowledge I had of their relationships was no more invasive or personal than that, but for some young people, this may have been the only example of a committed, healthy relationship that they had witnessed growing up. I believe we underestimate the importance of this, and upon reflection, I never knowingly witnessed an out and proud example of a queer, LGBTQI+ relationship, or a married couple in any of my educational settings growing up, or as an adult in education for that matter.
This is not to say that they did not exist, I am sure that was far from it. Often, due to both outwardly homophobic experiences, and subliminally, sometimes unintentionally homophobic messaging that still permeates day-to-day life, even here in the UK, people often feel forced to actively hide this part of themselves from their professional life. In my early career as a lecturer, I was even asked by my superior (at the time) not to tell students how I identify or that I was in a civil partnership with my spouse and fellow course team member, and to divert any questions on the subject, should they arise. No member of staff should feel that actively hiding this part of their identity is a necessary measure to take to be part of a workplace. This was a very different request to say, for example, being asked to keep personal information private and to only share information suitable within a professional context, which would have indeed been appropriate for a superior to ask a member of staff in the event that they had overshared.
Therefore, when my spouse and I introduced ourselves as part of the course team, we ensured that this was communicated in the same manner as it would for any other married couple in the workplace. We hoped that we were not the last example for the people we met during our time working together at the University, but we were, to our surprise, the first for many of our students who were questioning, who identify as LGBTQI+, or who came to the University from countries or belief systems where queer lives are not accepted and/or illegal. Experiencing this reaffirmed the potential power of this seemingly small act towards combating homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. As said by the patron saint of Wales, Dewi Sant (St. David), "Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain / Do the Small Things."
Sarah Newton-Gray, Lecturer in Adult Nursing
May 17th is The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. In today’s climate of governmental policy changes and debate across the world, there seems to be increasing media interest around the subject, currently specifically focused on the Trans community. This, in turn, sparks emotive debate on social media platforms that can become instrumental in driving homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic agendas. It is ever more pertinent that we allow LGBTQ+ community voices to be heard, and not allow them to be drowned out by any noise of intolerance. It is accepted that students require an inclusive environment in order to nurture their potential, and it is the responsibility of us all, both LGBTQ+ community members and allies, to facilitate this space.
We are developing healthcare professionals of the future, who can be inspired by positive messages, positive experiences, and discussion around individual experiences. For example, community members may feel a reluctance to seek healthcare advice, to attend screening, or there may be a sense of mistrust, and delays in treatment. There may also be a sense of exhaustion, with a feeling of needing to “come out” at every consultation, or there may be previous experience of poorly delivered care causing increased anxiety. As in “Making Every Contact Count” within health promotion, we also have the opportunity to open dialogue, invite conversation, and develop a core understanding of the challenges experienced by the community when accessing quality healthcare. Future practitioners will then be in a position to challenge discriminatory practices, create their own inclusive environments, provide sensitive care, and feel empowered to make the positive changes needed to transform our services for the better.
There is no place for homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in our practices, or in our society. In addressing homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, we are also protecting the individuals’ basic human rights and promoting social justice. This is everyone’s business. I asked a close family member for their view and felt I should share the response:
“I think that the move against transphobia is important, due to the fact that I believe everyone, including me, you, the people around you and me, the people you are talking to right now, the people you work with, the people you look after, the people who look after you, everyone should be included and should enjoy their life as a whole. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, lesbian, trans, enby (aka non-binary), bisexual, pansexual, black, or white, you’re just as valid as anyone else on Earth, and you deserve to be accepted.” (A potential future student – aged 15).