Good News from the UN on LGBT Human Rights

It’s time to interrupt this mental-health induced radio silence for a very exciting update.  If you didn’t hear, on Friday the UNHRC finally passed a resolution on LGBT rights, with 23 of the 47 nations in the Council voting in favor.  This is the first time something like this has passed, and it follows on the heels of several attempts in recent years to get a declaration on sexual orientation through the General Assembly.  Though the UNHRC is a smaller body, the plan to study the problem of LGBT rights violations is promising due to the effect it could potentially have on nations in the General Assembly that have voted against the declaration, but are not strongly opposed.

Although the rights of LGBT people are clearly protected by existing international law, those rights are not protected in practice or defended before international bodies.  Change occurs slowly, as evidenced by the slow march of sodomy law cases in some countries and same-sex marriage cases in others.  It is often courts, not legislatures, that decide these issues.  And in the UN, even the ability to lobby for queer rights has long been restricted.  It was only a few years ago that ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council) began granting LGBT organizations consultative status before the UN.  Hopefully, this resolution is a sign that the pendulum is starting to swing, but action will be required both in the UN and at the grassroots level if we’re going to see concrete action for LGBT rights at the UN.


About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on June 20, 2011, in human rights, queer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It is not so much a red banner day as a rainbow flag moment. Gays the world over should not be discriminated against, so says the United Nations in an historic moment, adopting a resolution supporting equal rights for gays. Did you hear that “Faggot” slurring sports stars and, yes, I am talking to you Tracey Morgan for whom this must be a bit of a ‘stab in the heart’. But it is not just the law of the land, it is the understanding of the world. So if the United Nations can understand and facilitate such understanding…what is still wrong with this united nation known as the United States. Just how can we stand by the UN resolution without fully understanding the hypocrisy that still permeates this United…or not so united…States. We still have discrimination in the armed forces. (Sure, sure, committee after committee has to still weigh in on the ridding of DADT. Until then where are we?) Gay Weddings? Good for some in some states…intolerable to others in most states. This is simple discrimination. Let us learn from the resolution and have some truth in advertising for once. If we want to call ourselves the United States…can’t we just be United? Really!?!

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