Overview of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity


Published
11 May 2018
Author
Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Presented
To the General Assembly at its 38th session (18 June–6 July 2018)

Summary

Acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are committed in all corners of the world. Victims are presumed to be in the millions every year. These acts extend from daily exclusion and discrimination to the most heinous acts, including torture and arbitrary killings. At their root lie the intent to punish the non-conformity of victims with preconceived notions of what should be their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the present report, the Independent Expert highlights how lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender non-conforming persons are affected differently by these acts. He looks at how intersecting factors have an impact on their vulnerability and on their risk of exclusion and marginalization. He also examines the link between hate speech and hate crimes, and the role of the media in amplifying and disseminating messages that reinforce stigma and foster violence and discrimination.

The Independent Expert also explores the root causes of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity: 

  • deeply-entrenched stigma and prejudice; and
  • discriminatory laws and regulations that foster a climate where hate speech, violence and discrimination are condoned and perpetrated with impunity.

He examines the impact of social prejudice and criminalization on the marginalization and exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans and gender non-conforming persons. He also addresses the negation of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and the resulting data gap, highlighting positive examples of data-gathering and recent measures taken by States to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. One such measure, for example, involves taking steps to acknowledge responsibility as an essential element in the establishment of historical truth, the process of reparation and the reconstitution of the social fabric.

More on the importance of LGBT inclusion

Watch the dialogue with Member States at the 38th Human Rights Council: 1st meeting | 2nd meeting

Read the press release

Methodology

The mandate held consultations on the overall objective of the mandate on 24 and 25 January 2017 in Geneva. The Independent Expert sent a questionnaire to States and other stakeholders in May 2017 with a particular focus on the following areas:

  • the current situation in the country/region;
  • key laws, policies and practices, including good practices; and
  • legal cases, including court judgements.

Through these means, the Independent expert received the input of over a hundred stakeholders. He took these into consideration when elaborating the present report.