Thank you for joining me on the
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
May 17th 2015
A Worldwide Celebration of Sexual and Gender Diversities
It was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.
In under a decade, May 17 has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale.
The Day represents an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations in 2014. These mobilisations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is not one centralised campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.
The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia has received official recognition from several States, international institutions as the European Parliament, and by countless local authorities. Most United Nations agencies also mark the Day with specific events.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
UN Free and Equal campaigns launches special
United Nations and international human rights experts speak out for
LGBT young people and children.
“13 May 2015 – Speaking ahead of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, a group of United Nations and international human rights experts* call for an end to discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people and children. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, a group of UN human rights experts, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe urge Governments worldwide to protect these young people and children from violence and discrimination, and to integrate their views on policies and laws that affect their rights. “Around the world, children and young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or intersex, or seen as such, still face stigma, discrimination and violence because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity, or because their bodies differ from typical definitions of female or male.Violence and discrimination against LGBT and intersex children and young persons take place at home, in schools and in institutions. LGBT young people too often face rejection by their families and communities who disapprove of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This can result in high rates of homelessness, social exclusion, and poverty. LGBT children are often bullied by classmates and teachers, resulting in some students dropping out. They may even be refused school admission or expelled on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.The stigma and discrimination LGBT children and young adults face have a detrimental impact on their self-esteem, and are associated with higher rates of depression and suicide than their peers. Discriminatory attitudes by health professionals and restrictions on access to information also create barriers for LGBT and intersex children and young people to access appropriate and safe health services.In some countries, young LGBT persons are subjected to harmful so-called ‘therapies’ intended to ‘modify’ their orientation or identity. Such therapies are unethical, unscientific and ineffective and may be tantamount to torture. Young transgender people also lack access to recognition of their gender identity, and are subjected to abusive procedures, such as sterilization or forced treatment.In addition, intersex children and young people may be subjected to medically unnecessary, irreversible surgery and treatment without their free and informed consent. These interventions can result in severe, long-term physical and psychological suffering, affecting children’s rights to physical integrity, to health, privacy and autonomy and may constitute torture or ill-treatment. States should prohibit such interventions.Laws that, directly or indirectly, criminalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity further exacerbate violence and discrimination. This includes ‘anti gay propaganda’ laws that arbitrarily restrict rights to freedom of expression and assembly and threaten the work of LGBT organizations and human rights defenders. Although it is claimed that these laws protect children, the result is, typically, the exact opposite: they result in violence against children and young activists who speak up against abuses. These and other discriminatory laws go against international human rights standards and should be repealed.States must act to protect all children and young adults from violence, and ensure that effective child protection and support systems are in place, including shelters and other safety mechanisms for those in need of protection.Societal attitudes against LGBT and intersex persons should not be used as justification to promote discriminatory laws and policies, to perpetuate discriminatory treatment, or to fail to investigate and prosecute those responsible for violence against LGBT and intersex children and young people. States must act to overcome prejudice and stereotypes through anti-discrimination initiatives in schools and public education campaigns. They should also address intersectional discrimination and violence against LGBT and intersex youth on the basis of race and ethnicity.The health and well-being of all children and young adults must be protected, including through ensuring access to non-discriminatory health services and comprehensive sexuality education, and by protecting the rights of all children and young adults to their identity, autonomy, and physical and psychological integrity.We call on States to comply with their obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all children and young adults without discrimination, to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people are consulted and participate in discussions on policies and laws that impact on their rights. We also call on human rights and child rights institutions to fulfil their mandate and play their part in protecting them from violence and discrimination.”
76 countries still place criminal sanctions on homosexuality
Trans people in Europe lack protection and recognition
The update reveals a severe lack of protection and recognition for trans people throughout Europe, with only 37 states recognizing a trans person’s gender identity. 23 states require for it a proof of sterilization. Only two countries, Malta and Denmark, do not request a mental health diagnosis.
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