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UN expert warns of high level of global LGBT violence and discrimination

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Global LGBT violence

UN expert warns of high level of global LGBT violence and discrimination

A United Nations rights expert warned that global LGBT violence and discrimination are at high levels and called them “disastrous.”

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, gave this warning in a report presented to the UN General Assembly.

Global LGBT violence on the rise

Madrigal-Borloz said nations should act against the levels of violence towards the LGBT communities around the world and the lack of recognition of gender identities, especially the transgender people.

In a press conference, he said: “These persons are suffering levels of violence and discrimination that are offensive to human conscience.”

He reported that 71 countries criminalize sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Of that number, 20 countries criminalize certain activities of forms of gender identity.

“Clearly, criminalization is creating a situation where persons are not only not protected, but actively persecuted on the basis of their gender identity,” the UN expert said.

He likewise said LGBT communities are further marginalized because they’re denied access to services such as education, health, and housing.

Moves to address global LGBT violence

The UN expert, however, also reported that some of the international community’s best practices to address discrimination and violence against the LGBT communities are progressing.

“There is a historical recognition of the fact that a diversity of gender identities have been recognized in all cultures and traditions around the world and that the outlawing or stigmatizing surrounding certain gender expressions have more the result of certain processes,” Madrigal-Borloz said.

He added: “But I do believe that there is enough evidence that in longstanding cultural and societal tradition, gender diversity has played a role in all corners of the world.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said they must “redouble” efforts to help LGBT communities around the world.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let me underscore that the United Nations will never give up the fight until everyone can live free and equal in dignity and rights,” Guterres said.

Data needed to identify root causes

Prior to his report, Madrigal-Borloz said countries should collect more data to understand the root causes of violence directed against the LGBT people across the world.

“In most contexts, policymakers are taking decisions in the dark, left only with personal preconceptions and prejudices,” he said.

In an interview with Harvard Gazette, he said the root causes of violence and discrimination is that societies are “structured around certain power relations, which have been designed in relation to a person’s sex.”

“Your role in society is determined by your genital configuration. That’s a very basic construction, and all forms of violence and discrimination come from a defense of those power relations,” he added.

He also cited the criminalization and demonization of the LGBT people: “The idea is that at the end of the day, there’s something immoral about our existence, and that’s what all of us need to fight against.”

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