Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates in 95 countries around the world are honoring the International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia (or IDAHO) with special ceremonies, memorials and other events.
A number of politicians, media personalities and high-profile figures have also joined the chorus of supporters acknowledging the significance of the day, which aims to "celebrate human diversity and rededicate ourselves to a basic but essential truth—that human rights are universal and must be protected," according to Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Observed each year on May 17, IDAHO become an important day for millions of people around the world to pause and remember the victims of anti-gay violence and discrimination.
"When I raise these issues, some complain that I’m pushing for ‘new rights’ or ‘special rights’ for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is quoted as saying in a statement. "But there is nothing new or special about the right to life and security of person, the right to freedom from discrimination."
Added Rice in an email statement: "To our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends and relatives around the world: the United States stands with you in your struggle against discrimination. We will continue to do everything we can, in every arena possible, to promote communities and societies in which all people can live safely and love without fear."
In Serbia, a nation not known for a particularly tolerant view of LGBT lifestyles, the atmosphere was perhaps considerably more poignant. "We need to develop awareness that everybody in Serbia must enjoy the same rights and feel safe," Equality Protection Commissioner Nevena Petrušić is quoted by B92 as saying. "This is a road to a tolerant and democratic society in which everybody will be able to say that they enjoy the same rights as all other citizens."
Sadly, things didn't go as smoothly in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where fighting broke out as protesters attacked marchers, tearing up placards, and police made several arrests in the capital of Tbilisi, according to the BBC.
Check out some reactions to IDAHO from around the world below: