May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a day aimed to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide.
The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. (Source: Wikipedia).
Some may wonder why there’s a need for a day set aside to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide.
Well, if you think about, you should understand. The fact that these acts of violence or discrimination still occur in this day and age just begs for more awareness of these issues. Because men, women, and transsexual people around the world still face these issues on a daily basis, regardless of what county they live in.
Let’s be honest – as progressive and accepting as the world has become, it’s still not where it should be. No person, regardless of race, sexuality, gender identity, religious beliefs, social status, etc should be made to feel less than who they really are.
This day helps promote discussion and an opportunity to take action at all levels, be it through the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society.
One of the stated goals of May 17 is to create an event that can be visible at a global level without needing to conform to a specific type of action. This decentralized approach is needed due to the diversity of social, religious, cultural, and political contexts in which rights violations occur. (Source: Wikipedia)
So in honour of this day, I give you the below music video from group Arcade Fire. The song, called ‘We Exist’, stars ‘The Amazing Spider-Man‘ actor Andrew Garfield in a tale of gender identity with him portraying a young person trying to come to terms with being transgender.
In the video, Garfield shaves his head, then dons a wig and women’s clothing before going to a (presumably) small town bar to socialise, only to be attacked, kicked, and beaten up for who he is. After an interesting dance sequence featuring bearded beary men dressed similarly to Garfield, he ends up walking through the crowd at an Arcade Fire concert, then dancing on stage.
It’s terrific to see such a known young actor willing to take on such a role that completely speaks to those who go through these struggles on a daily basis, and the video as a whole gives the message that you can find inner peace by embracing who you are, both inside and out.