LGBT Issues Come Back Hard at UN Negotiations

Oct 31, 2020 by

by Stefano Gennarini JD, C-Fam:

Countries have witnessed a strong resurgence of LGBT advocacy in UN General Assembly negotiations.

The European Union, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Nordic countries, and the United Kingdom aggressively promoted the contested category of “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) in UN negotiations this week. They asked to incorporate SOGI in UN resolutions on the protection of children from bullying, and the right to privacy.

It is unclear if historic opposition to SOGI from the Holy See, majority Muslim countries, as well as African and Caribbean nations will be sufficient to block them. The complaint from many governments is that special rights for LGBTs tend to trump other well-established rights like freedom of religion.

The progressive countries were especially adamant about the inclusion of language about data collection on bullying disaggregated by sexual orientation and gender identity, an effort supported by the United States.

Experts question whether sexual orientation and gender identity are categories capable of generating reliable data. Scientifically and legally, they are fluid and subjective categories. And surveys about discrimination on the basis of LGBT status are widely known in the statistical community to be limited and biased.

But the consequences of adopting such language are clear. Turning sexual orientation and gender identity into UN statistical categories will legitimize the work of the UN system to incorporate LGBT issues in the 2030 agenda. And it will translate into pressure from UN agencies and international donors to establish offices to track LGBT data and to promote LGBT policies in every country.

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