Another Dimension of Inclusiveness and Equality: Reducing the Vicious Cycle of Hatred against LGBTQ PeopleRead Now
This Blog is presented with the kind permission of Richard Burzynski and Chrissy Dideriksen co-editors of Equal Eyes (October 15, 2019). This edition of Equal Eyes draws on the discussions and outcomes of the UN Summit on The Sustainable Development Goals (September 30, 2019). It highlights the public discourse against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, their heightening exclusion and marginalization. It identifies recommendations about overcoming the vicious cycle of hatred, fear and loathing. ( See website: https://equal-eyes.org).
“Political campaigns, parliamentary debates and public demonstrations reveal social prejudice and misconceptions about the nature and moral character of LGBT people,” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN’s Independent Expert in the latest report on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity(SOGI) presented to the UN General Assembly (October 24,2019) presenting a report.
The Report focuses on the social, cultural and economic inclusion of LGBT individuals. It builds on the understanding that “an inclusive society enables people to enjoy protection from violence and discrimination, and leaders in the social, cultural, political and other fields can have an important role in communicating, motivating and fostering that inclusiveness.”
Findings relate to key areas of concern for the life of every person: education, employment, housing, health, public spaces, religious and political discourse. They address the topic of intersectionality, to underscore that any analysis of the causes and consequences of discrimination must consider multiple characteristics of a person’s lived experience, such as age, gender, disability, socioeconomic, migratory and citizenship status. The list of identities addressed in the report is non-exhaustive, but it will hopefully allow some of these lived experiences to be made visible and, therefore, addressable. At last, the report discusses dynamics of inclusion and presents conclusions and recommendations for moving forward.
Discriminatory laws and socio-cultural norms continue to marginalize and exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse persons from education, health care, housing, employment and occupation, and other sectors. The marginalization and peripheralization are part of a vicious cycle that give rise to a host of other problems; in a context where access to economic, social and cultural rights is hampered, a series of negative impacts on individuals, their families, groups and communities can be observed, resulting in poverty and exclusion, lower socioeconomic status, and limiting access to assets that are essential to enjoy the full range of human rights. The excluding environment inevitably lends themselves to violence and discrimination, as it hampers access to their rights, creates inequality of opportunity and access to resources.
A joint statement released by 12 UN entities in 2015 expressed concern about these issues:
(a) Children face bullying, discrimination or expulsion from schools on the basis of their actual or perceived SOGI, or that of their parents.
(b) Discrimination and violence contribute to the marginalization of LGBTI people and their vulnerability to ill health including HIV infection, yet they face denial of care, discriminatory attitudes and pathologization in medical and other settings.
(c) The exclusion of LGBTI people from the design, implementation and monitoring of laws and policies that affect them perpetuates their social and economic marginalization.
Some important steps are already being taken at the international, regional and national levels to address these issues. For example, UNESCO convened an international consultation on homophobic bullying in educational institutions in 2011, bringing together education ministries, UN agencies, NGOs and academia from more than 25 countries around the world. The World Bank is managing a project aimed at filling the LGBT data gap, focused on inclusion in markets, services, and other spaces. UNDP is leading and partnering in the development of the LGBTI Inclusion Index, which will measure inclusion of LGBTI people in health, civic and political participation, personal safety and security, education, and economic empowerment. Together with the World Bank, civil society, governments and academics UNDP has developed a proposed set of 51 indicators for the LGBTI Inclusion Index, aligned with the framework of the SDG with a view to identifying who is “left behind” and why. Trade unions and employers’ organizations have worked to promote the meaningful inclusion of LGBT people in the workplace, and around 240 businesses have expressed support to the Standards of Conduct for Business in tackling discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. States have passed legislation explicitly protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing and access to social security.
A glance at these issues quickly affirms the interdependence and inter-relatedness of all human rights. Addressing the social and economic rights of LGBT people is critical to any efforts to address violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI. Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community committed to leaving no-one behind. In order to lift LGBT people from cycles of exclusion and abuse, we must critically examine these issues as well as emerging good practices. With my report I further seek to highlight the unique role of leaders in different fields, which will allow to break the cycle of exclusion and which can have a positive impact on misconceptions, fears and prejudices that fuel violence and discrimination. “This vicious cycle of hatred against LGBT people is being fueled every day. It impacts on their social inclusion and hinders their access to healthcare, education, housing, employment, political participation, personal security and freedom from violence.” This view is substantiated by a variety of studies and report. See From the UN, Fear and Loathing
Conclusions and Recommendations
The UN Independent Expert concludes that inclusion is key to enable people to enjoy a life free from violence and discrimination. In order to break the cycle of exclusion, the Independent expert highlights effective State measures, including the unique role of leaders in different fields, which impact positively on the misconceptions, fears and prejudices. Urgent responses are required from States to:
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Edward and Auriol Greene Directors, GOFAD.