In 1990, on May 17th, the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Since 2004 this date has been recognised at the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia.
According to the IDAHOT website, the day was created “to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally”.
Perhaps you are wondering how a ‘day’ or a social media campaign can actually make a difference to such a diverse and divisive issue. Well, here are some facts:
- IDAHOT is celebrated in more than 130 countries (including 37 where homosexual acts are against the law)
- The day has achieved official recognition from many countries and the EU, as well as most UN agencies
- Many people in the LGBTI community comment that having a day where thousands of people are acknowledging them, and campaigning for them, is an incredible boost to their self confidence
Maybe, if you’re a forward thinking individual who knows that you yourself doesn’t discriminate, you might question why IDAHOT is even necessary? Again, here are some facts from the IDAHOT website:
- At least At least 81 countries in the world criminalize same sex relationships
- In 10 countries, the death penalty can be applied for same sex acts
- Members of the LGBTI community all over the world face discrimination, stigmatization and bullying on a daily basis
As a healthcare education organisation, that final point is what interests us most. In Australia discrimination based on sexual and/or gender identity is illegal, as is providing a different standard of care for LGBTI people. However, it is naive to think that it doesn’t occur in hospitals and healthcare organisations across the country. Numerous studies and reports point to unconscious bias playing a significant role in the treatment of LGBTI patients. Whether its assumptions made that hinder the diagnosis process, or it’s the healthcare professional feeling uncomfortable and therefore providing a lower standard of care. We see this especially in aged care facilities where the sexual rights of all patients are often suppressed.
In 2016 IDAHOT Australia is asking schools to #bebetter allies to same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students all over Australia. Well, we’re asking that we #bebetter hospitals for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse patients all over Australia. Have a look at yourself, and identify what unconscious bias you might be taking with you to work. If you think your workplace might benefit from some sexuality in healthcare training, please contact us.