Support International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB)

Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Choice

As professionals serving LGBTQ+ individuals in the Lowcountry, we request participation of local media, businesses, schools, and organizations in observing International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) on May 17, 2022. This global day of action was established in 2004 to commemorate the 1990 declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and is observed by 130 countries and United Nations agencies. Media, teachers, authorities, businesses, and the public are asked to raise awareness to the marginalization of LGBTQ+ individuals and the minimization of harmful, phobic experiences in their daily life which range from minor social interactions to harmful policies in the workplace to becoming victims of acts of violence and homicide.

The theme for this year’s IDAHOTB is “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights.” Homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia are apparent in medical care, policy, daily life, and culture around the world, resulting in endangerment of LGBTQ+ individuals’ personal lives, bodily safety, and opportunities. The IDAHOTB is a call to celebrate everyone’s freedom to love, to live, and to express their identity without fear of discrimination.

Why IDAHOTB Matters

The Williams Institute reports that in 2021, 50% of US LGBTQ+ employees were not out to supervisors, and 26% were not out to anyone in their workplace. In 2022, over 50% of US transgender college students report mental health impacts due to transphobia in higher education, and over 30% report bullying or assault. The national unemployment rate for LGBTQ+ individuals is 9%, with 22% living in poverty. The risk of discrimination increases significantly for LGBTQ+ people of color across all metrics; the proportion of lesbian, bisexual, and queer girls of color in foster care is four times greater than the general population (see The Williams Institute report linked below). With more than 13 million LGBTQ+ individuals over the age of 12 in America, these percentages reflect an intense number of people who experience insecurity because of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia daily.

In South Carolina, there are over 130,000 LGBTQ+ individuals, and over 80% of SC residents report that they have experienced or witnessed discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. LGBTQ+ South Carolinians live in every city, raise families in our state, and work in every professional field. In addition to being proud members of the LGBTQ+ community, these individuals are also proud to be South Carolina educators, public service employees, bankers, doctors, chefs, and many more.

How to Take Action for IDAHOTB

Organizations can make an intentional effort to take part in this global observation in the way that most benefits LGBTQ+ members of the organization and community. This may include:

  • Policy review and change, including establishing safe spaces and company pride events, standardizing parental leave policies, listing pronouns in company email signatures, ensuring HR policies are inclusive in both language and intent, and zero tolerance for organizational or individual discrimination
  • Webinars or trainings, including guest speakers or moderators. Local trainings are available from the Alliance for Full Acceptance ( and We Are Family ( Online resources are available from these resources and more:
  • Organizational roundtables in a safe environment that helps to dispel default thinking and inherent bias
  • Welcome and celebrate openness among staff and members while respecting and ensuring confidentiality
  • Interorganizational or public statements that set the tone for inclusion and belonging
  • Visit the GLAAD annual calendar to identify more important days for the LGBTQ+ community:
  • Review extensive statistical research from The Williams Institute, especially the January 2022 report on race and LGBTQ+ identity:

This statement is released with joint intention by the following professionals:

Bradley Childs, Chief Executive Officer, Palmetto Community Care

Richard Reams, Director of Development and Marketing, Palmetto Community Care

Sarah N. Harbin-Coleman, LPC, Truesdale Medical Center and Park Circle Counseling

Alliance For Full Acceptance

Holly Whitfield, Executive Director

Jeffrey Elliot Fleming, President

Charleston Black Pride

Dr. Regina Duggins, EdD, Founder/President

Ron’Rico Judon, Vice President

Charleston Pride

Loraine Cook-Holcombe, Chair, CEO

Jim Shulse, Vice Chair, COO

Kimberly Brown, Secretary

We Are Family

Domenico Ruggerio, Executive Director

Chandler Massengale, LMSW, Mental Health Coordinator

Community Members

Samantha Diamond, LPC, CCTP, Harborside Counseling

Haley Duncan, LPCA, Bright Sky Counseling

Lauren M. Edwards, Partner, Condon Family Law & Mediation; Board Member, We Are Family

George Goldston, LMFT, Therapy with George

Megan Göttsches, ADC-P, Lantana Recovery

Crystal Hank, Licensed Psychologist, Crystal Hank Counseling LLC

Emily Howard, LPCA, Therapy Studios

John Hyatt, LMFT

Kristina Kenny, LPC ADC

Rev. Colin Kerr, Parkside Church

Michael Luciano, Linkage-to-Care Navigator, Peer Services Coordinator, Palmetto Community Care

Alandria Mustafa, LPC, Sula Counseling

Heather Parkhill, DNP, Medical Director, Truesdale Medical Center

Jordyn Pritchard, Director of Community and Communications, Second Presbyterian Church

Jarmel Smith, Prevention Program Manager, Palmetto Community Care

Eric Sullivan, LPC, LMFT, Proud Counseling