United States: UN Expert Warns LGBT Rights Being Eroded, Urges Stronger Safeguards

(Special  Correspondent)

WASHINGTON D.C. (30 August 2022) – A UN expert says the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse (LGBT) people are being deliberately undermined by some state governments in the United States and has urged the Biden administration to strengthen measures to protect them. 

“Despite five decades of progress, equality is not within reach, and often not even within sight, for all persons impacted by violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the United States,’’ said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Madrigal-Borloz presented his conclusions at the end of a 10-day visit to Washington D.C.; Birmingham, Alabama; Miami, Florida; and San Diego, California. During the visit he met with State officials, members of civil society and persons who shared experiences and life stories with him. He said LGBT persons, and particularly LGBT persons of colour, continue to face significant inequality in relation to health, education, employment, and housing, as well as being disproportionately impacted by violence. 

The expert recognised that significant measures have been adopted by the Biden administration to address these challenges, but they were under a concerted attack..

“I am deeply alarmed by a widespread, profoundly negative riptide created by deliberate actions to roll back the human rights of LGBT people at state level,” he said, noting that these include deeply discriminatory measures seeking to rebuild stigma against lesbian and gay persons, limiting comprehensive sexual and gender education for all, and access to gender-affirming treatment, sports and single-sex facilities for trans and gender diverse persons.

“The evidence shows that, without exception, these actions rely on prejudiced and stigmatising views of LGBT persons, in particular transgender children and youth, and seek to leverage their lives as props for political profit.”

Madrigal-Borloz, who also met with authorities at a detention centre holding asylum seekers and the entry port of San Ysidro in the border with Mexico, said he was concerned that LGBT asylum seekers and refugees continue to suffer the consequences of discriminatory frameworks adopted by the previous administration and not yet dismantled.

The expert said the United States played a central role in the design and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has provided a compass toward a world in which all persons see their dignity respected, and live free and equal.

“The Biden-Harris administration has adopted powerful and meaningful actions that are in conformity with international human rights law, reveal a thoughtful strategy created through participative approaches, and provide significant capacity for their implementation. This is exactly the combination of values, knowledge, and muscle that can drive social change.

“In light of a concerted attack to undermine these actions, I exhort the administration to redouble its efforts to support the human rights of all LGBT persons living under its jurisdiction, and helping them to safe waters,’’ he said. 

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