International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

published 17 May 2024 updated 17 May 2024

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), Education International has signed the joint Global Union Federation (GUF) LGBTI+ Workers statement. Everybody must see their rights respected!

IDAHOBIT: No comrade left behind

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), celebrated on 17 May, is an opportunity for the trade union movement across the globe to (re)affirm our commitment to solidarity with LGBTI+ people and communities increasingly under siege. No comrade should be left behind in our fight for equality, justice and freedom for all.

Solidarity is an antidote to a world beset by conflict and inequality. Therefore, it is critical for us to unite, resist and challenge employers and governments while building strong movements to achieve social and economic justice for all.

We are strongest and most effective when standing together regardless of any differences we might have. The global anti-apartheid movement, for example, transcended borders and race to end a racist regime. Tellingly, South Africa's constitution, adopted after apartheid, was the first in the world to explicitly safeguard the rights of LGBTI+ people.

The fight for LGBTI+ equality has been led by many brave leaders, sharing our trade union and progressive values. In many countries, trade unions continue to be a prominent part of the struggle, often making gains in collective bargaining which influences policy and legislative change. When LGBTI+ workers organised to confront homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the world of work and society, many trade unions joined the call for protection from discrimination and equal treatment. Our underlying ethic of solidarity required us to stand with workers facing exclusion, discrimination, harassment and violence.

Solidarity remains both the driving force and the bedrock of our movement, guiding us toward a future of equality, justice and freedom for all. In contrast, powerful forces seek to divide workers and vilify LGBTI+ people as a distraction from issues like corruption, inequality and failed neoliberal policies. They often target low-income communities, weaponising their anxieties caused by economic inequalities and falsely framing the cultural interest of “elites'' as values of ordinary people. This divisive rhetoric is trafficked through social media and undisclosed financial contributions.

We have become familiar with the right’s scapegoating of migrants and the poor, its islamophobia, racism and antisemitism. Misogyny has intensified with attacks on women’s bodily autonomy and integrity. This is all part of an organised, anti-rights agenda which is a direct threat to all that trade unions stand and fight for.

On this International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, we commit ourselves to continue fighting for the rights of all workers and call on our affiliates around the world to support our call to end violence and discrimination in the workplace, ensuring that no comrade is left behind.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Solidarity requires nothing less of us.