Text: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. May 17. Image: 3 hearts in the center, each heart has the colours of pride, bisexual, and trans sexual flag

May 17, 2023

On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), YMCA Canada celebrates the gender and sexual diversity of its employees, volunteers, and community members and reaffirms its commitment to ending homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. We are committed to creating spaces that are inclusive of all two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and all sexual and gender diverse (2SLGBTQIA+) people. We encourage you to find out more about the history of IDAHOBIT and to amplify the voices that advocate for sexual and gender inclusion at home and around the world.

May 17 was first declared in 2005 as the International Day against Homophobia by a coalition of individuals and organizations including the International Lesbian and Gay Association, The International Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians. This date commemorates the declassification of homosexuality as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization. Transphobia was added to the name of the campaign in 2009 and biphobia was added in 2015. The date draws attention to the violence, repression, and discrimination faced by 2SLGBTQIA+ people. 

Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia are a concern around the world. As of 2019, up to 69 countries criminalize same sex relationships (1). At the same time, IDAHOBIT is celebrated globally in 130 countries (2). As stated on the official website of IDAHOBIT:

The Day represents a major global annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, local authorities, etc. to the alarming situation faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics (3). 

In Canada, research by the Canadian Labour Congress shows that “Two spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender non confirming people are bearing the brunt of violence and harassment both within and outside of the workplace. (4)” Education and action are necessary to make workplaces and communities safe for people of all genders and sexualities.

It is important to acknowledge that YMCAs have not always been inclusive of gender and sexual diversity and that we still have work to do to ensure that our communities are welcoming to all. We have taken steps to address homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia through an anti-discrimination policy, inclusive language training, and by amplifying the voices and leadership of 2SLGBTQIA+ persons and organizations. The work of unlearning heterosexism and genderism is ongoing and is part of our intentional strategy to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We hope you will join us in taking a stand against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, today, and every day of the year.



  1. International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia - Wikipedia
  2. About ~ may17.org
  3. About ~ may17.org
  4. Trans workers disproportionately impacted by harassment, violence at work | Canadian Labour Congress