THE International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is just around the corner on Sunday, May 17, and there are a variety of events being held around the country.

IDAHOT is commemorated each year on May 17 on the anniversary of the date the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. This year marks the 25 years since that declassification, and IDAHOT is also used an opportunity to raise awareness and remember the harm that homophobia, transphobia and biphobia can cause to individuals.

In 2014 alone, IDAHOT generated mobilisation in an estimated 124 countries worldwide, generating over 1600 actions and involving over 1200 associations.

The following is just a snapshot of the IDAHOT events happening in some of Australia’s major cities this year. To find out if your local council is hosting any IDAHOT events, visit their respective website.

BRISBANE

After more months of lobbying, the Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group (BLAG) recently secured bipartisan support from Brisbane City Council to have the symbolic rainbow flag raised over City Hall on Sunday.

Brisbane City Hall will also be lit in rainbow lights for the first time ever.

Last year, council refused to fly the flag, with Lord Mayor Graham Quirk suggesting it was only a symbolic gesture and other LGBTI initiatives were more important.

In addition to City Hall, Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge will be lit in rainbow colours (pictured above) on IDAHOT for the second year in a row.

BLAG is also hosting four different events on Sunday. The first is a min-fair at Queens Park from 11am, featuring informations stalls, support services, live entertainment, and the chance to write anti-homophobia and transphobia messages on whiteboards for social media. A memorial service will be held at City Hall afterwards at 12.30pm.

From 5.30pm, people are invited to converge at Wilson Outlook Reserve for a group viewing of Story Bridge in rainbow lights. A similar group viewing will also take place at 7pm outside Brisbane City Hall.

Three other Queensland local councils will also fly the rainbow flag for the first time for IDAHOT this year: Ipswich, Somerset (Esk) and Townsville councils.

For more details on each of these events, click here.

MELBOURNE

Many local councils throughout Melbourne’s metropolitan area will commemorate IDAHOT.

In addition to rainbow flags being flown from Preston and Northcote town halls from tomorrow (May 14) until May 22, the City of Darebin is hosting a fundraiser for (Re)framing Gender on Saturday, May 16. To be held at Northcote Town Hall, the fundraiser will feature live music, spoken word performances, puppetry, visual art and free food.

The inner-north council will also host IDAHOT Fest on Friday, May 22, featuring comedy, cabaret and the Queen Beaver Band.

Nearby, the Moreland and Banyule councils will also fly rainbow flags for IDAHOT, as will Brimbank City Council in the west.

Also in Melbourne’s west, Hobson’s Bay City Council will hold a rainbow flag raising ceremony and a screening of short films by WESTANDPROUD that document the experiences of LGBTI people in the city’s western suburbs.

Nearby, Moonee Valley City Council will host a community event facilitated by author Daniel Witthaus, where participants can discuss how LGBTI representation, equity and access can be improved in the region.

On the southern outskirts of Melbourne, Frankston City Council will for the first time publicly commemorate IDAHOT by raising the rainbow flag at Frankston Civic Centre. Nearby Mornington Peninsular Shire will do the same at its council offices.

Community members from both Frankston and the Peninsular regions are also invited to attend an IDAHOT event at Mechanics Hall in Frankston on Sunday night, which is also a fundraiser for the local LGBTI group Peninsular Pride.

Meanwhile, over at the City of Greater Geelong, support for the region’s LGBTI community was highlighted by raising the rainbow flag for the second year in a row at the City Hall today ahead of IDAHOT (pictured below).

To find out more about what each of these councils are doing for IDAHOT, as well as other local councils, visit their websites.

Geelong City Hall raises the rainbow flag ahead of IDAHOT on Sunday (Supplied image)

Geelong City Hall raises the rainbow flag ahead of IDAHOT on Sunday (Supplied image)

Geelong community members celebrate the raising of the rainbow flag ahead of IDAHOT on Sunday (Supplied image)

Geelong community members celebrate the raising of the rainbow flag ahead of IDAHOT on Sunday (Supplied image)

SYDNEY

Sydney’s inner-city suburbs may have some of Australia’s largest LGBTI populations, but it’s in the city’s western suburbs where some of the major IDAHOT events will occur.

Just outside the city, Blue Mountains City Council will kick off the occasion on Sunday with the rainbow flag raising at 11am at Civic Place in Katoomba. The ceremony will also feature Blue Mountains Citizen of the Year Rebecca Cramp as guest speaker.

The IDAHOT event will then move to the Carrington Place on Katoomba St at 11.30am, where local resident Sharron McKinnon will speak of the importance of marriage equality and Alex Taylor will speak of his experiences as a young trans* person.

There will also be a performance by SOS Choir, music and drumming by Hands, Heart and Feet and King Parrot Samba, a free light lunch, and more. In case of wet weather, the old library at Katoomba Community Hall will host the festivities instead.

The Blue Mountains community celebrating IDAHOT in 2014 (Supplied image)

The Blue Mountains community celebrating IDAHOT in 2014 (Supplied image)

Also on Sunday, western Sydney community advocates will host a huge IDAHOT Picnic in the Park event at Regatta Park, Emu Plains from 11am to 3pm.

Supported by Penrith City Council, the picnic and barbecue is free and open to all, and will feature performances by Sheryl Scharkie, LayDee KinMee, Sia Tequila, Marcus Skeggs, Sydney Homotones and Jye Bryant and Friends.

The Western Sydney Roller Derby Girls and members from the Mardi Gras 78ers will also be make an appearance. There will be games and speeches, too.

Meanwhile, IDAHOT events will be commemorated at Parramatta on Friday, May 15 with community stalls taking over the recently-renovated Centenary Square.

Working with Parramatta City Council, NSW Police and PFLAG, ACON will be joining food trucks, market stalls and police vehicles to promote IDAHOT in Sydney’s “second CBD” and the gateway to the western suburbs.

ACON is also supporting organisations throughout NSW with $500 IDAHOT grants to support activities from Byron Bay to Bega, and Wagga Wagga to Tamworth.

To find out more about what each of these councils are doing for IDAHOT, as well as other local councils, visit their respective websites.

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