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On May 17th, the International Day Against Homo-, Bi-, Inter- and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), people around the globe commemorate May 17th, 1990 - the day when homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organization's (WHO) ICD-10 diagnosis code. Since then, it is no longer officially considered a disease.
Nevertheless, even today queer people are prosecuted in 69 countries, and in 11 countries they are even threatened with the death penalty. Fortunately, there have been some positive developments in this regard in recent years, so that, for example, marriage for all is now permitted in over 30 countries.
Michael Lauk, Process Manager, member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team at Riverty (former Arvato Financial Solutions), and coordinator of the Riverty United be.queer network, also follows these developments closely and is committed to a colorful and above all appreciative society.
The fact alone that we will still be celebrating IDAHOBIT in 2022 shows that we are still far from reaching our goal and that - as the name already says - homophobia, bi-, inter- and transphobia are unfortunately still present in our society. That's why I think it's important to educate people about topics like gender identity and sexual orientation on days like May 17th and to overcome any prejudices or fears that may exist. Every year, I am delighted by the numerous activities organized in various cities by associations, clubs, private individuals, and, increasingly, companies.
At many locations, we are sending a clear signal of solidarity with the rainbow flag and promoting greater acceptance and visibility of the queer community. This also applies to the building in Baden-Baden, which will be additionally illuminated in rainbow colors. In Katowice, for example, diversity is celebrated throughout the month of May, European Diversity Month, with a colorful buffet, a special feature in the internal newspaper and other activities.
However the IDAHOBIT is only one of 365 days a year on which we deal with a wide variety of LGBITQ+ topics.
Absolutely! A lot has happened in the last few years, but that doesn't mean we can stop advocating for more progress. The fact that we still have room for improvement in terms of dealing with LGBTIQ+ in a professional context can also be proven with figures. For example, a study from 2019 found that nearly one-third of those who identify as LGBTIQ+ in Germany are not outed or closeted to colleagues. Internationally, it was about 17%.
Dare to be open about your sexual orientation or gender identity as circumstances allow and as you feel comfortable with. However, don't feel pressured by anyone to come out, but go at the pace you feel comfortable with. If you want to talk to someone, you can always reach out to the Riverty United be.queer network. And even as an ally, meaning a person who identifies as straight and cisgender (editor's note: people whose gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth) and supports the queer community, you can make a valuable contribution to a more colorful and tolerant society.
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