The MPA Celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia with Ray Pagden, Champion of BeYOU Employee Network


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The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) takes place on 17 May every year. This date was chosen as this was the day in 1990 that the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. IDAHOBIT is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including countries where same-sex acts are illegal. In 61 countries, it is still illegal to be in a same-sex marriage. In 7 countries it is punishable by death. 

 In 2004, this day was first marked by Louis-Georges Tin, to draw attention to the violence and discrimination that is experienced by the lesbian, gay, trans and bisexual communities. This also extends to all people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions and sex characteristics. IDAHOBIT is a day to create awareness of the situations faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and all those who may not conform to majority sexual and gender norms. It is a day to highlight that there is still a long way to go until they are free and safe from harm.
LGBTQIA+ people have been part of every community and country since time began, yet they are still being marginalised and discriminated against. This can be legally, socially, culturally or it can be a combination of all 3. 

This day unites millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
Each year there is a different theme, and this year’s theme is “No one left behind: equality, freedom and justice for all.” This theme encourages advocacy and celebrations in various forms, involving human rights defenders, LGBTQIA+ civil society groups and allies to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

We asked Ray Pagden, CEO of MOTUS Music and our Employee Network Champion of the BeYOU Network what this day means to him. 

“The ‘No One Left Behind’ theme resonates with me in 2 ways. The first is that there are many people being left behind within our own community. 

In 2017, the city of Philadelphia added a black and brown stripe to the pride flag in a campaign against racism in many of their gay venues. It was the controversy of changing the flag that brought these events in Philly to my attention, and that controversy showed it was not local to Philly, but globally, there was racism and unconscious bias endemic within our community. That small change to a flag in a single city sparked a global conversation about true equality and highlighted that people from minority groups are just as capable of discrimination as others, which is something we need to work on.
Secondly, I see a lot of DEI work which only focuses on a narrow agenda, which leaves a lot of people left behind. There are many organisations whose DEI work focuses only on race and gender. As such, it is leaving behind lots of people who are disadvantaged due to disability, religion, socioeconomic status and sexuality, just to name a few. 

In the creative industries, some sectors, such as TV and games, are really thoughtful about DEI and have been producing really in-depth reports across a really broad spectrum of protected characteristics for many years.
The UK music industry is still playing catch up in this area. The 2022 report made huge leaps forward in including analysis beyond gender and race for the first time but, unfortunately, left the LGBTQIA+ community out, despite collecting the data. 

In my role as BeYOU Employee Network Champion, I’ve been trying to learn more about other parts of the community and recently attended a talk about trans inclusivity in the music industry, where they also called out UK Music for collecting but not analysing data on the LGBTQIA+ community.
Raising awareness about this day also allows us to raise awareness about failures to address issues of homo/bi/transphobia. I’d like to use this day to call on UK Music to make sure this year “no one is left behind”, by analysing and publishing the LGBTQIA+ data they collect. This will help us address any issues in our sector and truly embrace the idea of “equality, freedom and justice for all.”

This year the theme calls for unity, we reaffirm our commitment to building a world where every individual is treated with dignity, respect and equality.
By standing together in solidarity, we can create a future where no one is left behind, and where love, acceptance and justice prevail for all.”

For more information or to join our BeYOU Employee Network Group, please contact Helen or Mandy. 

Helen Choudhury
Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity
[email protected]

Mandy Feighery
Diversity and Inclusivity Officer
[email protected]

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