“Despite 50 years of progress, equality is not within reach, and often not even in sightfor all people affected by violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the United States,” said the independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity*.
At the end of a ten-day visit to that country, Víctor Madrigal-Borloz pointed out that the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse (LGBT) people are deliberately undermined by some state governmentsfor which he urged the administration of President Joe Biden to reinforce measures to protect them.
The expert warned that LGBT people, especially those of color, continue to face inequality substantive in the areas of health, education, employment and housing.
Intentional rollback of human rights
“I am deeply alarmed by a generalized and very negative current resulting from intentional actions to roll back the human rights of LGBT people at the state level,” he stressed.
Madrigal-Borloz explained that this current includes discriminatory measures that seek to reconstruct the stigma against lesbian and gay people, limiting sex and gender education for all, and access to gender-affirming treatment and single-sex sports activities and facilities for trans and gender-diverse people.
He added that the evidence shows that, without exception, these actions are based on prejudiced and stigmatizing views of LGBT people, particularly transgender children and youth, “and seek to take advantage of their lives as support for political gain”.
He also warned that the people in this group are disproportionately affected by violence.
The expert acknowledged that the Joe Biden administration has taken significant steps to address these challenges; however, he considered that these people suffered an orchestrated aggression.
“In light of a concerted attack to undermine these actions, I urge the administration [federal] a redouble efforts to support the human rights of all LGBT people who live under its jurisdiction and help them get to safe waters,” he emphasized.
Madrigal-Borloz alluded to the central role of the United States in the design and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which marks the direction towards a world that respects dignity, freedom and equality of all people.
In this vein, he reiterated that the federal government in power, led by President Biden, has adopted important provisions in accordance with international human rights law, which seek participatory approaches and provide facilities to implement them.
According to the specialist, this combination of values, knowledge and strength is what is needed to drive social change.
Madrigal-Borloz’s mission included visits to the cities of Washington DC; Birmingham, Ala.; Miami Florida; and San Diego, Calif. Their meetings included state officials, members of civil society and people who shared their experiences and life stories.
The expert also held meetings with the authorities of a detention center for asylum seekers and the San Ysidro point of entry on the border with Mexico. After those conversations, he expressed concern about the consequences of the discriminatory frameworks adopted by the previous federal government that have not yet been dismantled and that continue to affect LGBT asylum seekers and refugees.
* The Special Rapporteurs are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system, is the general name for the independent investigation and monitoring mechanisms established by the Council to address specific country situations or thematic issues around the world. The experts of the Special Procedures work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government and organization and act in their individual capacity.