IDAHOBIT Day Croydon 2015: you’ve come a long way, baby

By - Wednesday 13th May, 2015

Catherine Pestano invites all Croydonians to a celebration of our sexual minorities

Photo author’s own.

International Day Against Homophobia, Bi, Intersex and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT Day) will take place from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday 16th May in the lovely community space at Bernard Weatherill House in Mint Walk, Croydon. The theme is ‘allies show their colours’ and it is for everyone in the community who values diversity.

Last year’s IDAHO Day, as it was then known, had a very visible public commemoration which was held at the Whitgift Shopping Centre with local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups and local churches taking part, showing solidarity side by side. This was enhanced with eye catching displays, and a peal of bells from Croydon’s minster, plus a steel band and the chorus of the Rainbows Across Borders group (a choir of lesbian and gay asylum seekers who have experience homophobic persecution) strutting their stuff. It was very colourful and visible event that attracted considerable public attention.

Public awareness this year is also being created over the airwaves of Croydon Radio. We will record interviews during the day which will raise awareness of the continued persecution of LGBTI communities worldwide. This is in contrast to the advances made by the LGBTI communities in the United Kingdom. We hope that with Croydon Radio’s involvement we will also help to publicise and promote the work being undertaken by local LGBT groups and their allies.

We’ll thank the police for supporting us and learn an African love song

There are a number of activities taking place throughout the day. Young people can join a session where they can compose their own pride chant and there will be a group discussion on using social media for campaigning. Members of the Rainbow Reading Group will be holding an open session on the part played by LGBTI literature in the advancement of gay liberation and the changes of attitude which have taken place in wider society. We’ll mark the contribution of our wonderful police liaison officers with cake and speeches and hold an open community singing workshop where we will learn a new song for our LGBT rights, harmonies to an African love song and a ’60s pop song about being 500 miles from home. We’ll be recording these and the chorus of Rainbows Across Borders singing civil rights song ‘If I had a hammer’ for airing on Croydon Radio.

Donations will also be invited on the day to support the participation of the LGBTI asylum seekers who have no recourse to public funds. You can prebook or just drop in to any part of the day, please feel welcome. Details are here or for encouragement or questions,  or call 07981 298 541. The venue is fully accessible.

As one of its organisers, I invite all Croydon citizens, if you want to see Croydon safe for people of all sexualities and genders, to join us for a fun and celebratory event this coming Saturday 16th May.

Catherine Pestano

Catherine Pestano

Catherine Pestano grew up in Sutton (standing for Labour), went to school in Carshalton, and college in Croydon. She loves Croydon, her vibrant home town of 17 years, where she works as a Nordic walking instructor and co-ordinator of community arts for well-being. She has a nostalgic fondness for her Brownie and Girl Guide Handbooks and all things Scouting-related. Campfire singing a speciality!

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