Celebrating love and freedom of gender and sexual expression – IDAHOBIT 2024

Today, on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) 2024, we join individuals, organizations and movements around the world in celebrating love and freedom of gender and sexual expression. We join the calls to leave no one behind: Equality, freedom and justice for all.

Today, and every day, we celebrate diverse identities, expressions, and characteristics of sex, gender and sexuality. We remain committed to working towards—and advocating for—measures that dismantle sexism, stigma, and violence against LGBTQI people.

MenEngage Alliance, together with our members from 92 countries, reaffirms our unwavering commitment to human rights for all, regardless of sexuality, sexual and gender identities. We continue to stand as part of, and alongside, LGBTQI communities in taking a stand against hate, and in building a world based on justice, acceptance and celebration of diversity in all its forms. We stand firmly with LGBTQI members of our network, as well as LGBTQI-led organizations, networks, communities and movements worldwide. 

As members of MenEngage Alliance, we remind ourselves of our Core Principle to ‘firmly support the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer individuals, in all diversities. We work with men, boys, and people of all genders to call out homophobia and heteronormativity.’

We acknowledge Indigenous, queer people of color in particular have led historical and ongoing activism and wins on human rights of LGBTQI people locally and internationally. We also recognize the colonial and racist history of oppressive anti-LGBTQI policies around the world and how it continues to shape our world today

LGBTQI rights are under attack all around the world

We witness a rising trend of discrimination and violations of LGBTQI rights worldwide. It should not be a crime to ‘just be’. Yet laws and policies that persecute LGBTQI communities are being proposed, enacted, or maintained around the world.

Consensual same-sex acts are criminalized in 64 countries, as shown in this map by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, And Intersex Association (ILGA)


As reported by ILGA Europe, only 10 European countries have banned conversion practices, leaving many LGBTQI individuals vulnerable to harmful treatment. In the United States, at least 515 bills targeting trans rights have been introduced in 2024 alone. In Thailand we continue to experience a stark contrast between the government’s official commitment to gender equality and the lived realities of women and LGBTQI human rights defenders who have had to suffer from violence and oppression as a result of their activism (Amnesty, 2024). 

Uganda and Ghana have recently passed Bills that criminalize same-sex relations, or make it illegal to identify as LGBTQI. The Uganda bill allows for severe punishments including life imprisonment or the death penalty. These bills, and the backlash against LGBTQI rights around the world, are an affront to human rights. Governments must be held to account for their ongoing violations to the fundamental rights and freedoms of their LGBTQI citizens.

Conservative momentum that is sweeping across regions worldwide threatens the progress made towards LGBTQI rights. It contributes to the silencing of activists and the shrinking of civic spaces for queer advocacy.

We understand patriarchy to be the root cause of violence and discrimination against LGBTQI people. For these and many other reasons, we stand with LGBTQI individuals, organizations, and communities in demanding bodily autonomy, freedom from discrimination, and full enjoyment of human rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Chunky Sthembile (they/them), Executive Director-Queer Women’s Network (LBQRS), Eswatini and the Chair-MenEngage African network,commenting on the discrimination faced by LGBTQI individuals and groups said: 

Authors like Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan emphasize transnational linkages that cut across categories of race, ethnicity, sexuality, culture, and gender.They highlight how patriarchy intersects with transnational processes, including European imperialism and neoliberal globalization. We must start to recognize [that understanding] the historical entanglements of patriarchy, colonialism, and sexuality is essential for dismantling discriminatory laws and promoting LGBTQI+ rights. Advocacy efforts should address both local and global dimensions, acknowledging the interconnectedness of power dynamics.

Commenting on this year’s IDAHOBIT theme to ‘leave no one behind: Equality, freedom and justice for all’, MenEngage SOGIESC Learning Circle member, Carlos Toh Zwakhala Idibouo (he/him), Board member, North American MenEngage Network (NAMEN), originally from Cote d’Ivoire, said:

Leaving no one behind is also giving the ability to queer people to freely love, authentically be and express themselves without any fear of judgment and persecution. The extreme violation of same sex relationships and queer rights in some countries lately confirmed how far behind governments are in managing countries outside of a strict binary and patriarchal spectrum. On this International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, let us join our voices together in solidarity to continue fighting for equality and true freedom for all.

Festus Kisa (he/him), Executive Director of Q-Initiative in Kenya, global board member of MenEngage Alliance, and member of the SOGIESC Learning Circle added: 

This day reminds us to continually adopt an intersectional feminist lens in our quest for liberation from homophobia and transphobia. We should hold space and stand alongside ALL LGBTIQ+ people all over the globe. We stand with LGBTIQ+ folks living in conflict areas, queers living with disability, elderly queers, queers facing homelessness and food insecurity, and all other intersecting forms of oppression. The struggle continues.

Speaking anonymously for one of our reports on SOGIESC agenda, one interviewee described the lifelong impact of LGBTQI stigma. We share this in recognition that many LGBTQI-identifying people are not able to speak publicly about their sexual and/or gender identities:

We come from a place where our entire lives were built under a very patriarchal social norms model. We have not learnt how to deconstruct those norms, and to build another model and contribute to shifting the narratives within the LGBTIQ movement, we must embark in a healing journey. We definitely need to learn how to do that. We need to find the way to heal from our shames; the shame of being gay in a society that defines us as not being real men because we are gay and we love other men.   


The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is observed annually on May 17th. This day was established in 2004 to  commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. It serves as a global moment to raise awareness about the ongoing fight for LGBTQI rights and to celebrate sexual and gender diversity that has always existed within our communities. 

Statement by MenEngage Global Secretariat together with the global MenEngage Alliance Learning Circle on sexual orientation, gender identity & expression, and sex characteristics.

17 May 2024