Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 17 May 2019

17 May 2019

Human rights are inherent to all human beings, and every person, without distinction, is entitled to a life free from violence, persecution, discrimination and stigma. 

The widespread violence, discrimination and exclusion faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people and their families around the world constitute serious human rights violations and impede efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and their promise of leaving no one behind.  

In many parts of the world, consensual same-sex relationships remain criminalized, exposing millions of individuals to the risk of arrest, imprisonment or even death. Homophobic and transphobic violence takes place in all contexts and settings.  Trans people struggle to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity and face daily discrimination and stigma, whether at work, school or in trying to secure basic health services, housing and other needs.

UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, is committed to addressing the specific needs of LGBTQI people. Around the world, we support health, comprehensive sexuality education and advocacy initiatives that help marginalized communities and lift up young people, including the LGBTQI youth often left behind. In the workplace, we support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Free & Equal campaign, including the Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People, and work to foster an environment of respect for all.

Together with our partners, UNFPA stands ready to assist governments and other stakeholders to tackle the discrimination and stigma faced by the LGBTQI community. 

Today, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, join us in helping protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of all LGBTQI people worldwide, and in doing so, securing rights and choices for all.


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