Monday, July 26, 2010

The LGBT in UN - Queering the United Nations

(Thanks to ENC Communication Intern Matthew McGibney.)

Last week, the LGBT community gained another voice at the table in the United Nations.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is now the newest consultative organization for the United Nations after a United States-led resolution passed the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is one of only ten LGBT organizations recognized this way.

The United States led the move to get the IGLHRC past a bureaucratic chokepoint, as 14 members of the US House of Representatives and four Senators sent letters of support to United Nations member states. As one of the participating representatives (with a lower-case “r”), Senator John Kerry earned his second mention from me in this blog, after also supporting a lift on the ban against gay male blood donors.

The IGLHRC will now be able to participate with the United Nations in a formal way, by attending meetings, presenting statements, and working with the organization and the member states on human rights issues.

This is great advance for under-represented LGBT folks across the globe, especially against the backdrop of continued state-sanctioned anti-LGBT violence and discrimination.

By accrediting the IGLHRC, it is now easier for disenfranchised LGBT people everywhere to access the human rights structures they need to protect themselves from discrimination.

It’s clear there’s a need for this when you have governments like Uganda discussing bills to use the death penalty against gay people.

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