Advocating for LBT inclusion at the Commission on Status of Women


As advocates for issues that some deem “controversial,” we don’t expect change to come easily or fast. So this month, at the United Nations annual gathering on women’s rights, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), we knew that we were facing an uphill battle for recognition of lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people.

And we brought it!

This year, the CSW focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—8 goals that include universal education, healthcare access, gender equality, and poverty eradication—all issues that are crucially important to our communities.

In our experience, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity often gets lost in more general concerns about economic development. To remedy this situation, we organized 2 tremendously successful public panels to highlight how violence and discrimination against LGBT communities impedes progress in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. (Watch the panel videos here).

We also know from experience that activists working for LGBT rights need safe spaces to learn and plan together in advance of and during these large meetings with governments. At IGLHRC, we see lending our space as a crucial service we can provide to our community.  During CSW meetings at IGLHRC, we were energized and humbled by the resilience and insights of our partners from around the world.

More than anything, we know from experience that governments will try to use this kind of forum to trade our rights away. This year was no exception. But this year, we loudly and proudly said, NO! IGLHRC joined 61 other organizations present at the CSW to express our outrage and to call on governments to acknowledge our experiences and rights.

This call for action is our manifesto for a better UN. How will you use it to organize your community for change?

With warmth and solidarity,

Jessica Stern
Executive Director

P.S. The photos above are of just a few activists from the LBT Caucus who represented our issues late into the night of CSW negotiations last Friday—when U.N. security saw one of the activists wearing the shirt, she was thrown out! Despite this hurdle, we will continue to stand strong!