Anti-homophobia events in Martin Place, Chippendale and Newtown marked an increase in local support for International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) this year.
IDAHO is the newest global human rights anniversary, marking the day the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on 17 May 1990.
Addressing the lunchtime crowds in Martin Place on Friday, ACON CEO Stevie Clayton asked them to think about the impact it had on young same-sex attracted people for the UN to tell them they had a mental illness.
Some discrimination is obvious, like unequal laws, verbal abuse or violent physical attacks. Other discrimination is more subtle, like being made to feel invisible or abnormal, Clayton said.
Government research showed that gay men and lesbians were respectively four and six times more likely to be assaulted than the general population, she said.
The NSW Police spokeswoman for gay, lesbian, transgender issues, Superintendent Donna Adney said she didn’t understand at first why gay hate crime often went unreported.
Fifteen months ago, before I took on the portfolio I wouldn’t have understood. I understand now there are lots of reasons why people who are victims of crime in the GLBT community might not want to report that crime to police, she said.
But I implore you to report the crime. Tell us as soon as the crime happens.
She said walking down the street holding hands with her husband was something she took for granted, but some in the GLBT community couldn’t do because of fear.
Adney added it was important to talk about homophobia publicly so others who hadn’t thought about it might do so and see if there was a difference they could make.
On Saturday, the second annual IDAHO art exhibition opened at the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre.
In Newtown on Sunday, Community Action Against Homophobia organised a rally under the I Have A Dream mural to discuss ongoing discrimination in marriage laws, refugee applications and criminal sanctions against gay and lesbian people in 77 countries.
Singapore’s gay community held its first outdoor protest against the country’s sodomy laws on Sunday, with no police retaliation. Latvia’s IDAHO activities also escaped retaliation for the first time.
Gay protests in Moscow, coinciding both with IDAHO and Eurovision, resulted in 40 arrests.