UN Women stands together with, and in support of, all members of the LGBTQIA+ community as we strive to ensure that everyone everywhere, regardless of gender identity, has the same opportunity to live a life free from violence and discrimination.

Human rights are universal and apply to everyone. Violence and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people is a violation of these rights and has far-reaching impacts on society. No cultural, moral or religious belief justifies the violation of anyone’s human rights.

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities, including those based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, with often-devastating impacts for LGBTQIA+ people, who are already among the most marginalised and excluded.

When people are not accepted in society, they can be left behind in many facets of life. We begin to see gaps – in wages, in economics and social opportunities, and access to leadership and decision-making positions. Excluded groups are more vulnerable to violence and discrimination. When people do not fall into a predetermined category, there is a risk of their being disregarded entirely.

The global goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can only be achieved if all people, especially marginalised groups such as LGBTQIA+ people, are included. Working on the full realisation of the rights of LGBTQIA+ people is central to leaving no one behind.

UN Women welcomes the ongoing repeal of laws that criminalise homosexuality and discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people in some countries. However, there are still more than 70 countries criminalising same-sex relations. Laws that prevent the open expression of LGBTQIA+ identity, laws on public decency and morals, laws against sodomy, forced sterilisation and bans on public meetings are all examples of the discriminatory laws that still exist. These laws are a violation of human rights and must be changed.

Law reform alone is insufficient. UN Women understands that assumptions of gender roles and stereotypes are underpinned by patriarchal social norms that lead to the exclusion of LGBTQIA+ people; norms that keep them living in the shadows and rupture their ties with families and communities. We must draw attention to these inequalities and end the stigma, phobia and discrimination that LGBTQIA+ people face every day.

It is essential to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people can live full and open lives within strong families and communities, where their rights are fully protected and access to services guaranteed.  

UN Women continues to stand up for LGBTQIA+ rights, in recognition, respect and celebration of the diversity and resilience of our communities worldwide.