IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia) 


IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia) 

17 May 2023

I am delighted to take time on 17 May to celebrate IDAHOBIT Day. The powerful and vibrant symbolism of the rainbow flag, which is often associated with this day, is a reminder both that our differences are complex and that diversity enriches and enhances our society. I encourage all members of our university community to join together on this important occasion, to go rainbow, to celebrate diversity, and to commit to working together to build a world free from discrimination.

Please join us for morning tea in the Nexus foyer at 11am today for reflections on IDAHOBIT, a short performance by students from the Elder Conservatorium of Music, and rainbow cupcakes!

Anne Hewitt
Associate Dean, Gender, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

I was recently part of a panel discussion at AGSA to discuss the wonderful exhibition Andy Warhol and Photography: A Social Media, and in particular the ‘queer gaze’ in Warhol’s work. A member of the audience asked whether I wasn’t reading too much into the work. Surely Warhol didn’t have a ‘gay agenda’, she insisted. Wasn’t his work more innocent? While I can’t speak for Warhol, anyone who made it to the exhibition in AGSA over the two months during which it hosted record crowds will find it hard to believe that the artist’s sexuality wasn’t at the forefront of his practice and his politics. Every queer person will, however, recognise the tone and the challenge in that questioner’s remark. We all have to judge how much of ourselves to reveal in particular contexts, whether to deflect or ignore a micro-aggression, how to deal with prejudices of varying degrees. I’m grateful that I’ve not faced the kind of threats that others in the LGBTQIA+ family do: watching Queer Eye Brazil on Netflix recently I learned that the average life expectancy of trans people in Brazil is 35. The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia gives us an opportunity to reflect on progress, but also on the very long way we still need to go as a society, globally, to accommodate the differences that make us all stronger. Listen, lend support, and ask questions – just not about our gay agenda, please…

Andrew van der Vlies (he/him)
Deputy Dean, People & Culture
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

2023 will be the 8th year that I have celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia. In 2015 I was 14, and still closeted. Now I am 22, a proud trans lesbian, and have entered my third year as president of the Pride Club here at the University of Adelaide.

Even in my comparatively young life I have seen the status of queer people in Australia and the wider world shift significantly; for better and for worse. For better, I saw Australia legalise same-sex marriage and implement better access for gender affirming care. When legally changing my gender marker last year, I was proud that South Australia allows for me to denote myself as non-binary.

I also had to watch, as a 16 year-old, what was called a 'civilised debate' surrounding same-sex marriage, while a member of the Australian Christian Lobby compared the children of queer couples to the Stolen Generation. I had to wait for nearly 2 years after referral before a doctor became available to start my medical transition and had to ask for financial aid from friends and strangers to pay for my legal change of name and gender. Recently in Melbourne I saw proud nazis ally themselves with groups that specifically target transgender people like myself. Even though it was still wonderful to see all of the queer people and allies who came forward to support one another, each moment of triumph often comes tinged with what we've had to endure.

At the University of Adelaide, the Pride Club represents the social comradery that binds the queer community together. Regardless of culture, religion, disability, identity, or faculty, we have solidarity with each other. Whether this is shared through direct support of groups who are currently facing higher levels of discrimination, doing our part to decolonise the community, or simply sitting together playing cards; the fact that we are able to do so is what is so important.

Kansas Bird (he/they)
Masters of Museum and Curatorial Studies
University of Adelaide Pride Club President

Anniversaries are important. Not least because they provide a moment to reflect upon the achievements, or otherwise, of the last 12 months. The 17th of May each year is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDHOBIT). It is a day that records when the World Health Organisation (WHO) removed homosexuality from the classification of diseases. This was in 1990.

While this shocks our sensibilities when we realise this was only 33 years ago, it is a marker of the progress, if slow progress, to become a more just society. There remains much to do to end discrimination, but thankfully, I am heartened by the achievements and the commitment by so many in our community to celebrate and advance our diversity.

Professor John Williams
Executive Dean
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

I’ve found it hard to put my thoughts on IDAHOBIT into words. I’ve certainly been given a platform to discuss the unfortunately prevalent and growing anti-queer sentiment which has insidiously crept its way throughout society.

Days like IDAHOBIT serve as a stark reminder of the storied and upsettingly bloodied road that has led us to this point. It is a sign of the threat of harm that still exists to those under the rainbow umbrella who aren’t afforded the good graces I am. It invites us to reflect that while gay love stories are oft seen in our media, they elicit venomous responses that boil down to: ‘how dare you exist in my sightline?’ This, while banks and corporations gladly don our colours and spout the merits of inclusivity and progress when it serves them, but maintain discriminatory practices and uphold systems that endanger our lives.

It’s also another reminder: that I’m one of the lucky ones. And every moment I get to reflect on that I am thankful I’m allowed to be (if a touch reserved) a proudly queer person, able to exist in the world without harm. There is always more to the fight for equality than simple existence and tolerance. LGBTQ+ people deserve a full and vibrant life.

One of my favourite musicians, Lucy Dacus, recently said in an interview ‘I want every gay and trans person to have the opportunity to be inarticulate, stupid and unexceptional’ – and that is what I wish for every one us, this IDAHOBIT: the unexceptional and dazzling chance to simply be, in whatever way we so want, without fear of repercussion.

Spencer Petticrew (he/him)
Convenor, Pride Network
Technical Officer, Chemical & Analytical Services 
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering & Technology 

Tagged in People and Culture