International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) events will be increased this year as more organisations take part in what has become a growing global movement each 17 May.

A public debate in Martin Place, an online photo campaign and a user-generated hate crime map are new additions to the Sydney events this year, joining the IDAHO art exhibition run by Nick Baldas.

Workshops are also being held from this Thursday at the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre in Chippendale with community organisations including the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service, Twenty10, the Gay and Lesbian Choir and Keepsafe self-defence classes.

ACON’s Anti-Violence Project, NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, NSW Young Lawyers, City of Sydney, NSW Police and NSW Attorney General’s Department have come together to sponsor the Martin Place debate from noon on Friday 15 May.

Comedians will join activists and lawyers to ask whether same-sex adoption is a human right, and will share the stage with entertainment from singer Shauna Jensen.

Also at Martin Place will be the local launch of the popular online campaign that asks people to photograph themselves holding an anti-homophobia sign. Booths will be available following the adoption debate. Hundreds of supporters have already posted their photos on international versions of the project.

IDAHO began as a national event in Canada. It grew into an international protest in 2005, taking its place with Day of Silence and Pride -” marking the Stonewall riots -” as an annual event of the international gay and lesbian community.

Baldas said IDAHO Sydney was created to support the GLBTI and queer communities and bring the topic of homophobia into the open.

The main goal of the exhibition and workshops is to encourage and support all members of our community who have experienced or are experiencing homophobia and give them a safe environment where they can develop new skills to express themselves, he said.

Every GLBTI, queer and questioning person as well as a few of our heterosexual friends would have experienced homophobia to some degree.

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