May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT)

  • May 17, 2021

May 17 has been dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, marking the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. This year's international theme is 'Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!'.

Did you know that Belgium (and hence Flanders) has been second on the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index for many years? ILGA-Europe is an umbrella organisation bringing together over 600 organisations advocating for human rights and equality for LGBTI people. The Europe Rainbow Index is ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool, which ranks 49 countries in Europe on their LGBTI equality laws and policies. Malta is the only country on the list with a better score than Belgium.

Flanders is also one of the leading regions regarding transgender and intersex rights. Efforts are mainly aimed at sharing information and increasing public awareness. For instance, a central information website (www.transgenderzorg.be) has been launched for caretakers who come into contact with transgender people in a professional context. Flanders has also led the Intersex Knowledge and Attitudes Survey, gathering data on public attitudes towards and awareness about intersex people in Flanders and the Netherlands. The questionnaire used in this study will be shared with other countries to collect similar data.

The Government of Flanders also supports the LGBTQI community on a broader level in their fight against inequality in different parts of society. These actions are embedded in Flanders’ Horizontal Integration an Equal Opportunities Policy Plan 2020-24.

On May 17, to show this support, the Government of Flanders will fly the rainbow flag at all local administrative offices and at several Diplomatic Representations of Flanders abroad.