May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
First observed in 2004, the day was designed to focus “attention on the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender, identities or expressions, and sex characteristics,” according the May17.org website.
The U.N. secretary general issued a statement in support of May 17, noting that this year’s observation comes “at a time of great challenge.”
“Among the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased vulnerability of LGBTI people,” Antonio Guterres said. “Already facing bias, attacks and murder simply for who they are or whom they love, many LGBTI people are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care.”
The U.N. chief urged people to “stand united against discrimination and for the right of all to live free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Most of the events around the world marking the day have been moved online because of the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The May 17 date was chosen for the worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities to commemorate the World Health Organization’s 1990 decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.