May 17, 2018 4:51 pm
Updated: May 17, 2018 5:49 pm

PFLAG London Chapter celebrates the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

The pride flag has been raised outside Byron Northview Public School in London, Ont.

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PFLAG London Chapter is hosting the international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia (IDAHOT) Thursday in the city’s east-end area.

The local organization offers services to members of the community struggling with their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. They provide support to parents, families, friends and colleagues of LGBT2QI+ people.

Andrew Rosser, president of Pride London Festival, said the event educates others about the issues LGBT2QI+ people face.

“These things are meant to kind of ignite those conversations, shed light on the activism that’s being done here (London) and around the world.”

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The campaign began May 17, 2005, to celebrate the World Health Organization removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1990.

PFLAG uses the campaign to draw attention to discriminatory and violent practices experienced by members of the LGBT2QI+ community.

“When you think homophobia or biphobia or transphobia, you automatically think of physical assaults, those larger scale things, and those obviously happen and those are the most traumatic.”

READ MORE: Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers discusses LGBTQ issues to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

He adds that a part of the problem is the negative comments they receive from others.

“I have being called faggot in the mall, sitting at a pride booth,” Rosser said.

“It’s those little things that happen in our society all the time, which is what we need to be changing and that’s what this day is all about.”

IDAHOT was formerly known as the International Day against Homophobia. Transphobia was added in 2009 to recognize issues between sexual orientation and gender expression. Biphobia was later added to include problems faced by bisexual people.

READ MORE: PFLAG International Day Against Homophobia flag-raising

The theme for 2018 is “alliances for solidarity” to encourage support between the organization and other vulnerable groups, and strengthen relationships with current partners.

The three-hour event, which starts 7 p.m. at the Aeolian Hall, is free. There will be live performances from spoken word artist Sâkihitowin Awâsis, The Kate Channer Band and Craterheart. Local LGBTQ2I+ artists will be gracing the stage. Guests will also see 2018 Pride London Festival Ambassador Nico Lavender in the building.

Meantime, some local schools also marked the day. At Wortley Road Public School, the Pride Flag was raised on Thursday. In a tweet, the school thanked teacher Julia Hall’s class for poems, speeches, sidewalk chalk messages, and sticky notes with positive messages left in the bathrooms.

– with files from 980 CFPL’s Jacquelyn LeBel. 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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