By Maruah –
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every May 17.
It is coordinated by the Paris-based "IDAHO Committee," founded and presided by French academic Louis-Georges Tin. The day aims to coordinate international events to garner support for the respect of lesbians and gay rights worldwide.
May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.
Homophobia is incompatible with the principles upon which all democractic countries are founded and contravenes the values in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (UDHR)
Article 12 of the Singapore Constitution provides “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.” On the other hand Singapore also has Section 377A of the Penal Code which serves to deny communities their rights solely because of sexual practices.
Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights states:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
In view of these principles we call for our society to eradicate homophobia and work towards being more open to diversity, including people with different sexual orientation and gender identities.
In particular, MARUAH calls for the Singapore government to immediately repeal Section 377A, as the critical first step towards eliminating such discrimination.
About MARUAH Singapore
MARUAH is a human rights NGO based in Singapore. "Maruah" means "dignity" in Malay, Singapore's national language. Human rights is fundamentally about maintaining, restoring and reclaiming one's dignity, and MARUAH strives to achieve this by working on national and regional human rights issues. MARUAH is also the Singapore focal point of the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, which is officially recognised in the ASEAN Charter as an entity associated with ASEAN.
More information on MARUAH can be found at www.maruah.org
This article is published by The Online Citizen, 20 Maxwell Road, #09-17 Maxwell House, Singapore 069113.