U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called homophobia and transphobia a "terrible scourge" on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
The annual May 17th event is the brainchild of Louis-Georges Tin, a professor and author of a number of books, including the Dictionary of Homophobia. IDAHO celebrates the 1990 date homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classifications of Diseases.
"In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)," Clinton said in a statement. "So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts."
"On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights."