IGLHRC Recognizes International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2012

Media Contact: Brian Tofte-Schumacher
212.430.6015, brian@iglhrc.org

Statement from Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), May 17, 2012, we recognize the tireless work of human rights defenders around the globe. In the face of harsh discrimination and persistent human rights violations, activists and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people everywhere demonstrate extraordinary resilience.

At the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), we are honored to partner with LGBT human rights defenders from Asia and Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa who work to end homophobia and transphobia in their communities.

By collaborating with colleagues and partners to document and report specific examples of homophobic or transphobic violence and discrimination to key human rights bodies, including the United Nations, we envision a world where one day the human rights of everyone, everywhere, are honored, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

On this day, we recognize three important advances in human rights for LGBT people in Argentina and Chile. These advances are a direct result of the resilience and hard work of LGBT human rights defenders there.

Argentina Adopts Ground-breaking Rights for Transgender Individuals

In Argentina, recent passage of what may be the most progressive gender identity law in history had human rights advocates celebrating worldwide. The law gives self-identified transgender people access to crucial services without the need for medical intervention and provides for specific human rights protections. Argentina’s Senate passed the law on May 9th, with 55 votes in favor, one abstention and no votes against.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission enthusiastically applauded the legislation. Acting Executive Director Jessica Stern said, “Argentina has set a new benchmark for protecting and recognizing the human rights of transgender individuals. I congratulate the advocates who worked over many years, with sustained strength, careful strategy and diverse unity to make this legislation a reality. All too often, transgender people are subject to violent hate crimes and denied education, housing, healthcare and employment. Governments around the world should follow Argentina’s lead and implement progressive legislation to protect the rights of transgender people everywhere.”

Inter-American Court Upholds LGBT Rights in Historic Ruling

On March 20, 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Government of Chile for its 2003 Supreme Court ruling which stripped Karen Atala, a lesbian mother and judge, of custody of her three daughters on the basis of her sexual orientation. The 2003 ruling determined that if her daughters remained in her custody, they would be in a “situation of risk” due to their “unique family.” This is the first time the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ever heard a case specifically regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. For more information, see IGLHRC’s full press release.

Chile Advances Anti-Hate Crime Legislation

On May 9th, Chile passed anti-discrimination legislation that had been languishing in lawmaker’s hands for 7 years. The law, which passed in the wake of the homophobic murder of young Chilean, Daniel Zamudio, enables people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits and adds hate-crime sentences for violent crimes. Passed by a vote of 25-3, according to the Washington Post, the law was hailed by gay activists and government officials alike.

More about International Day Against Homophobia Events Taking Place Around the World

Ging Cristobal, Project Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Islands has gathered a list of IDAHO celebrations happening in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. For a full listing of these events, visit our website.

The global web portal of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia has also gathered a comprehensive, interactive listing of world news and events on their website, http://www.dayagainsthomophobia.org

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), founded in 1990, is a leading international human rights organization dedicated to improving the lives of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. We are dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the LGBT human rights movement worldwide to conduct documentation of LGBT human rights violations and by engaging in human rights advocacy with partners around the globe. We work with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies and civil society partners. IGLHRC holds consultative status at the United Nations as a recognized Non-Governmental Organization representing the concerns and human rights of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people worldwide. For more information about the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission visit: www.iglhrc.org.