Today is IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia – marking the International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination.
IDAHOBIT celebrates LGBTQIA+ people globally and raises awareness for the work still needed to combat discrimination towards the community. This year is the 32nd anniversary since the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
Hamilton Locke Lawyer Wil Alam discussed IDAHOBIT, including the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and ways individuals and businesses can show support and become active allies.
Hamilton Locke Lawyer Wil Alam on the meaning of IDAHOBIT and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
- What does IDAHOBIT mean to you and the LGBTQIA+ community?
IDAHOBIT marks the anniversary of 17 May 1990, when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.
This marked an important date for LGBTQIA+ human rights across the globe and meant that being lesbian or gay was no longer considered a medical condition or a diagnosable disease.
IDAHOBIT has evolved since its inception in 2005 to acknowledge the struggles faced by the wider LGBTQIA+ community:
- 2005 – the day was known as IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia);
- 2011 – the name was then updated to IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia); and
- 2018 – the name was then updated to its current title, IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex Discrimination and Transphobia).
- How important is it for the community to have a day like this to celebrate triumphs and acknowledge the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA+ community?
While IDAHOBIT has evolved over the years, the purpose remains the same – to celebrate the progress the LGBTQIA+ community has made thus far, and to raise awareness for the discrimination that LGBTQIA+ people still face today.
- In your opinion, what makes a workplace inclusive?
Cultivating a work environment where people feel comfortable to bring their ‘whole self’ to work.
Too often, young LGBTQIA+ lawyers find themselves having to censor or hide all or portions of their LGBTQIA+ identity at work. There are many not-for-profit organisations established to address this exact issue such as Pride in Diversity (which Hamilton Locke is a part of).
I am very fortunate to feel comfortable to bring my whole self to work at Hamilton Locke (and particularly in our diverse Finance team led by Zina Edwards, Brad Allen and Adam Jeffrey).
- What is one simple thing an ally can do every day to support the LGBTQIA+ community?
Be open-minded and to hear people out. There are people from all different walks of life in every firm.
- What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self on how to deal with any LGBTQIA+ discrimination?
Coming from a conservative Muslim Bangladeshi background, I know all too well of the need for a strong support network. Know that your friends and your community are your chosen family. Lean on your chosen family, other friends and colleagues. There is a lot of love in this world.
- How will you be celebrating IDAHOBIT?
The Hamilton Locke team celebrated by organising a fantastic drag trivia night. It was attended by LGBTQIA+ and ally staff at the queer cultural cornerstone that is Stonewall Hotel on Oxford Street.