The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17 will see a raft of events held across New South Wales.

IDAHO marks the day homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organisation in 1990.

This year, Wollongong’s Mall will see a flood of love from 11am as shoppers help ACON Illawarra plant a Sea of Hearts to stand against homophobia.

In Sydney the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir is taking to the concourse at Central Station to sing in support of IDAHO for morning commuters between 8-8.30am.

The choir will sing You Make Me Proud, composed by Howard Alexander for the OutPost Choir project, designed to get members of the LGBTI community and their allies around the world singing together online.

To view the project, make a recording, or hear the song, visit www.outpostchoir.com
In Parramatta the EMERGENCE IDAHO 2012 exhibition is an annual free community event in which more than 40 local artists and participating secondary schools will explore homophobia, identity and family through art.

The event launch is on May 17, 6-8pm at the Quirk-ability Gallery, Shop 1a, Connection Arcade, 162-172 Church St, Parramatta.

The exhibition will be open to the public May 17 – 26 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11am-5pm, and Thursdays, noon-8pm.

It is supported by Parramatta City Council and Arts NSW. Participating groups include Muslims Against Homophobia, Twenty10, the Pride In Colour Working Group, and Wear It Purple.

For further information, visit www.emergence2012.com.

Meanwhile, Newcastle will host its inaugural shOUT Gay and Lesbian Film Festival over three evenings, May 15 – 17, at Tower Cinemas.

The festival, a collaboration between Queer Screen, Metro Entertainment and Tower Cinemas, will open with the Oscar-nominated film Albert Nobbs.

Other highlights include Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, American lesbian road movie Cloudburst, and acclaimed gay British drama Weekend.

Festival passes are $65 plus booking fee and cover all sessions. Single session passes, starting at $15, are also available. Visit www.shoutfilmfestival.com for more information.

In Katoomba the rainbow flag will be raised for the third consecutive year by the Blue Mountains City Council in support of IDAHO at 9am on May 17, followed by a morning tea.

The This is Oz project will have a photo booth at the event and musical duo Spiral will sing a song written especially for the flag-raising.

For more information, visit www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

This year IDAHO NSW is asking people to sign an online pledge to be an ally against homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexphobia and share that message with the people in their lives in the lead-up to IDAHO.

“Everyone has the right to be accepted for who they are, how they choose to express themselves and who they love,” the pledge reads.

“I pledge to share this message with my friends, family, neighbours and colleagues; to speak out against prejudice, discrimination, hate or intolerance wherever I see it and if I can safely do so; [and] to provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning youth by letting them know that ‘I am your ally’. ”

INFO: www.facebook.com/IdahoNSW or www.idaho-nsw.com

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