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Rainbow cake and conversations: 30 year IDAHOBIT milestone celebrated globally

DEFGLIS Events Director Bonnie Doyle discusses why 30 years on, IDAHOBIT is such an important day for our community.

I’m at a brand new workplace this year and I raised the question, “Can we have an IDAHOBIT morning tea?”

After explaining that IDAHOBIT is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia; the workplace was enthusiastic to support but like most initial reactions I’ve encountered, they were confused and intrigued by the inherent paradox.

Is it a day of celebration? A commiseration? Is cake appropriate? Do people say “Happy IDAHOBIT?”

Yes, yes, yes and yes...

IDAHOBIT is marked on a significant day - 17 May 1990, when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. This international turning-point gave way to allow many of the rights we experience today, including serving openly within Defence.

While the day is celebratory, it is first an acknowledgement and a commitment. We acknowledge that discrimination still exists, and we commit to action to combat negative and harmful culture. The actions we commit to could be as small as having a conversation, attending a morning tea, calling out behaviour when we see it or improving education and awareness in the workplace.

For me, IDAHOBIT is an opportunity for reflection on how far we have come, solidarity to other cultures and groups that are yet to experience the same levels of protection and promotion of human rights, and a time to take stock of how much further we need to go to improve laws, policy and culture.

Last year I celebrated IDAHOBIT with a base-wide barbeque at RAAF Base Williamtown and enough rainbow cake to feed the Army. Living in Canberra this year, I was excited to continue the base-wide tradition and was hoping to be involved in facilitating another grand event. COVID-19 restrictions have limited celebrations to my small team of 10 people, this is not disappointing. It’s an opportunity for us to be innovative in our approach to showing support for the Diverse Sex, Sexuality and Gender (DSSG) community and the ways in which we will celebrate inclusion.

I’m excited to share what will be a brand new experience with all of them. Raising awareness, engagement and learning is best delivered in small groups. I won’t be able to reach everyone this year, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach a few in a deeper and more connected way.

On 17 May 20, DEFGLIS Members are encouraged to post images of themselves, their families and friends - and express themselves authentically.

You can find more IDAHOBIT resources here.

How will you celebrate IDAHOBIT this year?

16 May 2020

Image by Ann-Marie Calilhanna for DEFGLIS

About the Author
Author: Bonnie Doyle
Bonnie is an Air Intelligence Analyst in the Royal Australian Air Force - and the Events Director of the Defence LGBTI Information Service

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