European institutions get ready to celebrate IDAHO

On Monday 17th May 2010, the 6th International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) will mark the exact 20th anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s decision to remove homosexuality from its list of illnesses on the 17th May 1990.

European institutions are getting ready to celebrate IDAHO 2010 at the highest level.

At the European Parliament

On Monday 17th May, President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek will issue a video message on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia. The video will be available on the Intergroup’s website.

Later during the day, the President will open the parliamentary session in Strasbourg by formally marking the International Day Against Homophobia. This will be streamed live on the European Parliament website in all 23 EU languages from 17:00 CET.

Inside the European Parliament, the Intergroup on LGBT Rights will hold an information stand in partnership with the Parliament’s administration and ILGA Europe. The stand will inform MEPs and Parliament staff about homophobia, the legal situation of LGBT people in Europe, and it will display the three high-level statements by Jerzy Buzek, Viviane Reding and Herman van Rompuy.

The headlines of the European Parliament also feature an article on the front page of the Europarl website: Ending homophobia – stopping discrimination.

At the European Commission

Commissioner Viviane RedingVice-president of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding will issue a video message condemning homophobia and explaining what the European Commission does and plans to do against it. The video will also be available on the Intergroup’s website on Monday.

Outside the European Commission, ILGA Europe will hold an event to raise awareness on homophobia and transphobia in the European Union. See the online details about the event at the Schuman roundabout.

At the European Council

Herman van Rompuy, President of the European CouncilHerman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, has already released a written statement on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia.

In his written statement (PDF), Herman van Rompuy declared that “the European Union can take some pride in being at the vanguard of combating homophobia and other forms of prejudice and discrimination.”

The President of the European Council added:

[…] discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation has ceased to constitute a political cleavage, and is enshrined in the EU’s founding act and statement of values. It is something that distinguishes Europe from many other parts of the world.

We are inspired by the sense for human dignity and the uniqueness of each person. Everyone deserves equal chances in life.

For somebody of my generation, this consecrates a remarkable evolution of public attitudes. It represents European values at their best:

  • accepting difference, not fearing it,
  • living with diversity, not fleeing it,
  • defending rights and responsibilities, not ignoring them.

Read the full statement (PDF)

At the Council of Europe

Finally, the Council of Europe will also mark the day in Strasbourg with a joint event with the European Parliament.

The roundtable, entitled LGBT rights in Europe: Where do we stand?, will gather Members of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman, representatives of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly, as well as secretariat representatives.

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia