We are reminded that May 17 is a symbolic date for sexual and gender-diverse (SGD) communities. It is on this day, in 1990, that homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses by the World Health Organization.

We would like to thank Fondation Émergence, the organization responsible for creating the first National Day Against Homophobia in 2003 and who has been forwarding this day in its current form since 2005. This year, the foundation’s main theme focuses on LGBTQ+ human rights in the world. Their campaign reminds us that while the condition of LGBTQ+ people around the world is slowly improving, “in many countries, it is still dangerous to show one’s true colours.” 72 states around the world still criminalize relations between people of the same sex, and in 8 states these relations are punishable by death. Moreover, LGBTQ+ people continue to be targets of discrimination, violence, and conversation therapy. In sum, while solidarity exists and is growing, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Every year, around the world, campaigns launched on this day contribute to combatting discrimination in our communities. In 2014, the Foundation also added transphobia to the day’s title, expanding awareness about the ways in which trans people also experience societal prejudice.

Montréal Pride applauds and supports the many local initiatives being taken within Québec on this day. Together, we are contributing to the de-stigmatization of LGBTQ+ lifestyles and identities.

For more information on ways to participate, you may visit Foundation Emergence’s website here.

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