Event is part of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and will include candlelight vigil and speakers
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Activists will gather at the JFK Memorial in downtown Dallas as part of the worldwide recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, known as IDAHO, on May 17.
The event began in 2004 but this is the first time Dallas will participate.
“It’s celebrated around the world and we’ve never had one here in Dallas,” said organizer Daniel Cates.
The May 17 date was chosen by the Paris-based IDAHO committee: Although U.S. groups like the American Psychological Association had already removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, the World Health Organization did so on May 17, 1990.
That was a major step for the LGBT community in many countries in gaining equality based on sexual orientation.
Cates said that the day is celebrated differently in different parts of the world.
“Some places it’s as simple as showing a film or having an art exhibit,” he said.
In countries where a Pride Day celebration is banned, a demonstration against homophobia might be permitted.
In Dallas, Cates said, “We’re doing a candlelight vigil, not a loud, screaming march. Chicago is doing a boisterous protest.”
Cates said the march through downtown would be on sidewalks with police escorts but would not close streets. The route is be short, about a half mile, Cates estimated.
He said the second Stonewall March set for June 25 will also be held downtown and will again close streets, as it did last year.
“The two events seem to be attracting two different groups,” Cates said.
He called the IDAHO event a more mature crowd.
“The march appeals to a younger crowd who wants to know, ‘Why the hell don’t I have my rights?’” he said.
Cates said the Dallas IDAHO vigil will concentrate on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Other cities have expanded their focus to include other groups also experiencing discrimination.
He cited Islamophobia as an issue that will be addressed in some places.
The march returns to the JFK Memoril where speakers will address the crowd, including Maeve O’Connor, a transgender member of the Resource Center Dallas board of directors. Her three-minute speech at Dallas County Commissioners Court is reportedly the story that convinced John Wiley Price to vote for the county nondiscrimination policy to gender identity and expression.
Elizabeth Jayne Webb, who is an event organizer as well as speaker, is an organizer of Walk for Choice.
She recently planned the Slut Walk to call for an end to blaming the victims in cases of in rape and violence.
Rainbow LULAC President Jesse Garcia will speak about building bridges between the Hispanic and LGBT communities. He hosts a morning talk show on KNON.
Other speakers will include Davlin Kerekes, an activist with the International Socialist Organization Dallas Branch, and Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, associate professor of religion at Brite Divinity School and theologian-in-residence at Cathedral of Hope. Sprinkle is also the author of Unfinished Lives, a book about LGBT hate crime victims.
Cates said the evening will also include songs and speakers will be followed by an open mic.