Today marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which draws attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by members of the LGBTQIA2S community.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen as it commemorates the World Health Organization’s 1990 decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Organizers with The Rainbow Collective and Thunder Pride say they have concerns over the rising levels of violence, hate and unwelcoming behavior being directed toward the community in Thunder Bay and beyond.

Jason Veltri is the President of The Rainbow Collective and says the community will not be going back into the closet.

“With rising discourse around the world and calls of genocide against Trans, Non-Binary and Drag Performers we all need to redouble our efforts to protect vulnerable and marginalized communities from oppressive rhetoric and actions.”

Both organizations are calling on all levels of government to ensure better protections are there for those most vulnerable to the bigotry, harassment and discrimination.

“People in Thunder Bay love the anonymity that the internet provides, but it also fosters a dark space for hate and violent ideas fueled by this ignorance. said Thunder Pride Chair Scotia Kauppi in a release. “Thunder Pride calls for more actions and leadership from the City of Thunder Bay, the Province of Ontario, and the Federal Government to not just regulate, but remove the barriers for us to feel safe in our daily lives and to set a precedent of respect.”

Event’s today in Thunder Bay will include a community conversation at Brodie Library starting at 6:00 p.m.