OutRight Now: Equality Trumps Homophobia at the UN General Assembly

Dear Friend,

December 19, 2016 was a great victory for human rights and for equality! United Nations voted against homophobia and to maintain the Independent Expert to ‘protect against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.’

You might remember that in June, the UN Human Rights Council created a very important position – a dedicated person at the UN with a mandate to investigate human rights violations happening against LGBTIQ people around the world; to document and give recommendations to address these issues.

Even though the expert was approved, conservative nations have continued to push back.

Countries who oppose LGBTIQ rights say they have no place in international law. These hostile groups continue to fight with rigor to stop the work of the Independent Expert. And they are supported by conservative groups that rally against rights of LGBTIQ people. On Monday at the General Assembly, an amendment was put forward that would do just that. Thankfully enough countries voted against this amendment and for the universality of human rights. This win would not have happened but for the advocacy of organizations, including OutRight and our partners. The Independent Expert can now continue his work! You can read our press release for more information.

This win is even more rewarding because the Independent Expert was a big part of this year’s Advocacy Week objectives. Every year OutRight brings around 50 activists to meet with governments (this year 40 of them) and UN agencies. Not one meeting passed without us speaking about the need for the Independent Expert and the need for countries to protect his mandate.

After hearing about the victory yesterday, Sushant Naidu, an activist from Advocacy Week posted,


“We strategized on how to convince missions of various countries to vote to protect the mandate of the Independent Expert (IE) on SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). We weren't even sure of what date the vote would take place on in the plenary. At times I felt so frustrated, and at others I wondered if what we were doing was really going to make a difference. So, today, to see the United Nations General Assembly vote to save the position of the IE, was extremely emotional for me. To all my friends from Advocacy Week, and OutRight Action International, I see you, I love you, and I celebrate with you.”

I hope you will celebrate with us too!

And if you are able, please consider supporting this critical work!
Jessica Stern,
Executive Director
OutRight Action International