UN Tackles Violence Against LBTI Women

Recognizing that lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women are at a heightened risk of suffering violence, domestic assault and gross breaches of human rights in the form of so-called “corrective” sexual assaults, the United Nations and the Council of Europe are making steps to adopt an inclusive non-discrimination article that enshrines protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity as part of a new Convention on violence against women.

From ILGA-Europe:

ILGA-Europe used its observer status at the expert committee which drafted the Convention to argue the need to cover of sexual orientation and gender identity. We see the inclusion of these grounds as of great symbolic importance – the Convention is the first legally binding international agreement ever to cover the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, such an inclusion confirms that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people constitutes an integral part of universal human rights.

The Convention will now be opened for signature in May, and will come into force when ratified by 10 member states.

Linda Freimane, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board, said on the Convention: “ILGA-Europe warmly welcomes the adoption of the Convention and the recognition that lesbian, bisexual and trans women are particularly vulnerable to violence and require specific measure of protection.”

She added, “We urge governments of Council of Europe member states to ratify the Convention as soon as possible.”

Freimane also had strong words for those who opposed the convention, saying that the Russian Federation and the Holy See’s specific opposition of protections for lesbian bisexual, trans women raised “disturbing questions regarding the extent of their commitment to such fundamental rights as the right to life, and the right to protection from violence.“

The Council of Europe defines the overall Convention as a first step in creating “a legal framework at pan-European level to protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention also establishes a specific monitoring mechanism in order to ensure effective implementation of its provisions by the Parties.”

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Rock Cohen.


Fred Hayward
Fred H7 years ago

I was criticized (by Heather and David) for pointing out the sexism of the UN coming to the aid of gay women and not gay men, but nobody has disputed the fact that this is, indeed, sexist.

If gay women are objectively more “vulnerable,” there might be a bit of an excuse for it, but again, nobody seems to have made the case that they are objectively more vulnerable. I see more gay men assaulted in America than gay women, I see more gay prisoners assaulted than lesbian prisoners, I see more gay men hanged in Iran than lesbians, etc.

I’m not saying that, therefore, gay men are more vulnerable and, therefore, the UN should only concern itself with gay men, either. I’m just saying that this UN program smacks of sexism and nobody seems to be defending it without sending...well...sexist.

Bernadette P.
berny p7 years ago

very sad!

Reagan D.
Reagan D7 years ago

this is just sad

Beth M.
Beth M7 years ago

Why is it so hard to respect every human for who and what they are?

Sharon Balloch
Sharon Balloch7 years ago

Sad Sad Sad....

Marjaana Y.
marjaana v7 years ago

it really sucks that there has to be conventions, laws etc about this. people are people no matter what shape they're are.

florin r.
oana r7 years ago

@David Greensmith intersex, in humans and other animals, is the presence of intermediate or atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish female from male.

Alicia N.
Alicia N7 years ago

noted and God bless always...

David Greensmith
David Greensmith7 years ago

Fred - I don't think anyone is saying that the bigotry and violence gay men suffer is less than that suffered by gay/bi/trans/intersex women. What it is saying is that these women are particularly vulnerable - partly, I suspect because they don't have the same support networks that gay men have. Trans women (by this I mean genetically born male but who identify as female) are subjected to a great deal of abuse and ridicule - much as gay men were portrayed when I was a kid in the 70's. This is not a case of "us" vs "them". It's a case of stamping out bigotry and hatred.

David Greensmith
David Greensmith7 years ago

Dotti "intersex" is a term used to describe a person where their gender (usually sexual organs) are ambiguous or their genetic make up is such that they aren't XX (female) or XY (male).