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Introduction to the committee

The mandate and scope of the 3rdcommittee of the General Assembly is encapsulated
within the official description of the committee, provided by the United Nations as
“relating to the advancement of women, the protection of children, indigenous issues,
the treatment of refugees, the promotion of fundamental freedoms through the
elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the right to self- determination.” As
such, it deals with all issues pertaining to the social and humanitarian affairs of all
peoples and the preservation of fundamental civil liberties. The committee additionally
focuses on the policies for social uplifting and addressing various infrastructural
problems inhibiting social development.

Topic Area: The Protection and Promotion of LGBTI Rights and Their
Treatment thereof

Every human being should be able to enjoy their human rights no matter what; but
people get judged every day because of the way they dress, they look, they feel and
what they believe in. Mostly, LGBTI people get discriminated of their relationships
-either emotional or sexual- and who they are. LGBTI community faces discrimination,
inequality and violence every day, even sometimes torture or execution because of their
orientation or gender.
Hate crimes against LGBTI individuals are motivated by morals, ethics and bias based
on sexual orientation or gender identity. In some countries, there is high tolerance for
LGBTI individuals. There are laws, organizations and equality, apparently. But, under
some circumstances, the other side of the medallion is way different from we are
actually seeing currently. These rights, such as marriage and adoption, have been won
through great efforts. However, LGBTI rights are not being seen as human rights
completely. And unfortunately, LGBTI individuals are not being treated like individuals.
There are so many incidents and documents based on violence, hate crime because of
the bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including torture, killing,
execution, unequal treatment, censorship, medical abuses, discrimination, domestic
violence, abuses against children and denial of family rights and recognition.
Despite remarkable advances for the rights of LGBTI community, there are still many
countries in which consensual, same sex relations are criminalized and punishments
include prison sentences, flogging and even the death penalty; where people with a
gender expression anything other than ideal become prey to hate crimes; where
intersex babies are either aborted before birth or killed right after.
According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association,
78 countries prosecute people because of their sexual orientation. Contrarily, only 53
countries have anti-discrimination laws.

The “LGB” of LGBTI

Topic History
Documented forms of homosexuality date back to ancient Egyptian and Greek
societies, and attitudes towards homosexuality have always been controversial. The
rise of Christianity in the early First Century led to greater condemnation of
homosexuality, followed by alternating attitudes throughout the later centuries. By the
18th century homosexuality was largely frowned upon, so much so that many
governments took initiatives to prevent individuals from engaging in homosexual acts
and to prohibit mass media publications of anything indicative of homosexuality. Under
King Henry VIII, England passed the Statute of 1533 that made sodomy a capital
offence. This legislation remained until 1828, although interpretations of the UK’s
Criminal Law Amendment Act furthered the criminalization of sodomy until its
legalization in 1967.
It was not until after WWII that institutions were created on behalf of the LGBT
community. LGBT movements during this time took place primarily in the United States
and Europe. Greater awareness of homosexuality as a product of post-WWII
globalization brought to light “political demands for fair treatment in mental health, public
policy, and employment”. The 1960s Civil Rights Movement in the US marks a turning
point with its Stonewall Revolution, during which queer people resisted police raids in
New York City. This period was followed by the 1970s gay liberation movement, during
which groups organized advocacy organizations and planned public demonstrations.
The movement impacted all aspects of society: media, music, religion, politics, and
education. Finally, the surfacing of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s prompted greater demand for
medical and other support for the LGBT community, led by several prominent public
In the 1900s and 2000s overall yielded the greatest advancement for LGBT people, but
inequality between groups based upon sexual orientation continues. The issue of LGBT
rights has never been addressed by the UN until December 2008, when a
Dutch/French-initiated, European Union-backed statement supporting LGBT rights was
presented to the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA). That statement was
sponsored by 96 UN Member States and prompted an Arab League-backed statement
opposing it. Until today, none of the statements have been officially adopted by the UN
GA and both are still open for signature.
In 2003, numerous European countries put forward the Brazilian Resolution within the
UNHRC, stating the intention that lesbian and gay rights should be considered as
fundamentals the rights of all human beings. Following the steps of the European
countries, all 34 member countries of the Organization of American States unanimously
approved a declaration affirming that human rights protection also extends to sexual
orientation and gender identity.
On December 15th, 2011, the UN HRC passed its first report on the human rights of
LGBT people, describing how people around the world are killed or endure hate-
motivated violence, torture, detention, criminalization and discrimination in employment,
health care and education because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or
gender identity. Three years later, in 2014, it was announced that as an employer, the
UN would extend equal benefits to its employees who have entered into same-sex
unions in jurisdictions where they are legal. Under this new policy, staff who is married
to a same-sex partner in a jurisdiction has the right to receive the exact same benefits
and recognition as those in heterosexual marriages, regardless of whether same-sex
marriage is legal or illegal in their country of citizenship. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon has supported a move towards greater respect for LGBT rights over recent years.
He has stated: "Human rights are at the core of the mission of the United Nations. I am
proud to stand for greater equality for all staff, and I call on all members of our UN
family to unite in rejecting homophobia as discrimination that can never be tolerated at
our workplace.

Universality, Equality, and Non-Discrimination

The application of international human rights law is guided by the principles of
universality and non-discrimination enshrined in article 1 of the Universal Declaration
Human Rights, which states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity
and rights”. All people, including LGBT persons, are entitled to enjoy the protections
provided for by international human rights law, including the rights to life, security of the
person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the
right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association
and peaceful assembly.
Non-discrimination clauses in international documents typically require that rights be
applicable to everyone without discrimination, and that States ensure that their laws,
policies and programs are not discriminatory in impact. For example, under article 2 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), each State party to the
Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and
subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in ICCPR, without distinction of any kind
such as race, color, sex, language, etc. It can therefore be argued that every individual
should be protected from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and
arbitrary detention and everyone’s rights of freedom of expression, association and
assembly have to be ensured.
One problematic issue that frequently arises is the fact that the specific grounds of
discrimination referred to in ICCPR and other human rights treaties are not specifically
defined, instead the definition is left open. Sexual orientation and gender identity, like
disability, age and health status, are not explicitly mentioned among the grounds listed
in ICCPR or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(ICESR). The right to nondiscrimination as well as all other abovementioned rights
determined in ICCPR and ICESR, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
can thus be implicitly applied to LGBT people, however since their protection is inferred
from the general principle of universality, it is often defied in countries unfavorable to
those communities, defending their policies with the argument that the treaties they
have signed and/or ratified do not explicitly require them to ensure the rights of LGBT
people as well. However, in 1994, the Human Rights Committee - a body of
independent experts that monitors the implementation of ICCPR by its State parties with
the Human Rights Council - held in the individual communication Toonen v. Australia
that “Member States are obligated to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis
of their sexual orientation and that the ‘reference to sex’ in Article 2 (1) of ICCPR is to
be taken as including sexual orientation.

In order to discuss a legal framework for the protection of the LGBT community, we
must first understand the root of the problem. Homophobia can be defined as the
dislike, hatred, or fear of homosexual people. Likewise, transphobia can be defined as
the dislike, hatred, or fear of transgender people. One explanation of these conditions is
that perceived behavior of LGBT people undermines social norms by challenging
traditional gender roles. This means that men behaving in a way that could be
interpreted as feminine such as dressing or speaking in a certain way may make these
individuals targets for violence or discrimination. The same goes for women who
behave in what could be considered a masculine role. Resulting from these non-
traditional gender roles is a change in power dynamic from the male-female dichotomy
to something completely different. Essentially, those considered to be homophobic tend
to feel threatened by homosexuality because they feel uncomfortable by the perceived
shift away from a society dominated by “masculine” males.
Furthermore, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology conducted a study of men who
consider themselves homophobic. The results suggest that homophobic men harbor
repressed homosexual tendencies, and they behave in aggressive ways particularly
towards homosexuals to further deny their sexuality. The Gay and Lesbian Medical
Association explains that “homophobia operates on two levels: internally and externally.
Internal homophobia represents prejudices individuals learn (internalize) from their
families, friends, teachers, religious institutions [etc.]…External homophobia is the over
expression of those biases, ranging from social avoidance, to legal and religious
proscription, to violence…”
Other explanations, likely rooted within the gender roles explanation, include lack of
education on this topic and moralistic and religious beliefs. For instance, the idea that
being homosexual or transgender is a choice is false, as is the belief that homosexual
couples only obtain children to “corrupt” them into being homosexual. Many moralistic
people discount homosexuality on the basis that it undermines existing value systems
and damages the concept of a family.
All of these misconceptions affect and are affected by harmful stereotypes about LGBT
people. Perhaps the most widespread myth is that gay men are feminine and
alternatively lesbian women are masculine. Another disrespect to LGB people is the
stereotype that they are attracted to all members of their own sex and “can’t control their
desires”16 and finally that LGBT people are not equipped to be “good” parents by virtue
of their defying traditional family responsibilities. Stereotypes specifically about gay men
include that this population is plagued by HIV/AIDS more so than anyone else, and that
they are pedophiles and therefore cannot be trusted near children. Not only are these
stereotypes false, but they also reinforce the “otherness” of the LGBT community, which
ultimately discourages tolerance.
A study conducted by the World Bank examines the economic loss suffered by India as
a result of its homophobic attitudes and its criminalization of homosexuality. India lost
an estimated $30.8 billion in 2012 due to the absence of LGBT people from the
workforce combined with the mental and physical health of LGBT people affecting the
quality of their work. This research speaks to the financial cost of excluding the LGBT
population from reaching its potential to contribute to the country’s economy. The 75
other MS that criminalize same-sex relationships likely suffer similar losses.

Problems Faced By The LGBT

Despite the fact that most Member States do recognize untraditional sexual orientation,
anti LGBT legislation remains a significant challenge. United Nations mechanisms such
as the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council have been documenting
such violations for close to two decades. As of 2019, 6 countries effectively impose the
death penalty on consensual same-sex sexual acts, with three in Asia (Iran, Saudi
Arabia and Yemen) and three in Africa (Nigeria (the northern states), Sudan and
Somalia (Jubaland region)). In addition, the death penalty is a possible punishment in 6
other countries: Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab
Emirates. An additional 70 nations enforce legislations resulting in the imprisonment of
members of the LGBT community. It is sometimes even written in the constitution that
being LGBT is illegal. An important consideration is that in many nations such as
Nigeria, simply being perceived as homosexual warrants arrest and other forms of
discrimination. In some countries, even LGBT activism and statements favoring LGBT
rights are prohibited. The United Nations takes a clear stance on this issue, stating that
“laws criminalizing homosexuality violate rights to privacy and non-discrimination in
breach of States’ legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights. The criminalization of homosexuality is problematic because it
discourages the development of a comprehensive health care framework for those
suffering from HIV/AIDS as well as reinforces negative attitudes towards LGBT people
resulting in discrimination and violence.

Based upon this analysis it is clear that existing legal frameworks aimed at the
protection of LGBT people is ineffective, nor are all MS equal in their commitment to
fight this injustice. Equally severe are the negative attitudes towards the LGBT
community that shape discrimination at an institutionally social level. That is to say that
this systematic yet social discrimination pervades all nations, regardless of its hostile or
protective legislation of LBGTs. Discrimination in the workplace is prominent throughout
all regions of the world. Treatment of transgender employees in the workplace is of
particular concern, since a 2011 survey in the US shows that the transgender
community experiences greater harassment than the LGBT community in the
professional environment. Aspects of workplace mistreatment include pay, hiring, or
promotion inequality as well as harassment.
While many companies and MS have legislation in place to prevent such harassment
and discrimination from taking place, much of it remains ineffective. Furthermore, many
other MS have no antidiscrimination legislation in place at all. For instance, the
Philippines abide by a constitution that “guarantees full respect for human rights and
every person has the right to equal protection…but sexual orientation and gender
identity are not explicitly mentioned…A number of government agencies have …policies
that protect sexual orientation, and alternatively, other agencies have expressed
policies that are discriminatory”. Such inconsistency occurs in other MS, thus clarity is
important when considering this topic.
Discrimination outside the workplace can range from denied access to public goods and
services to arbitrarily raised prices and social exclusion. In the US, the LGBT
community may struggle to find (affordable) housing and be subject to discrimination by
landlords. Refusal from service at restaurants, public transportation, medical attention,
and other things is also common for LGBT people in the US and elsewhere. It is difficult
to ratify and subsequently enforce legislation protecting the LGBT community from all
forms of discrimination, as much of it occurs at the individual level to ratify and
subsequently enforce legislation protecting the LGBT community from all forms of
discrimination, as much of it occurs at the individual level.

Social Ostracism
An additional and equally damaging product of homophobia and transphobia is social
ostracism of LGBT people. This ostracism, which can begin at an early age, pervades
all aspects of a community including school, social media, and entertainment and news
outlets, and impacts young people’s physical and psychological development. Research
conducted by Concordia University suggests that “the stress of being rejected of
victimized because of sexual orientation may disrupt hormonal responses in lesbians,
gays and bisexuals.” These hormone imbalances in conjunction with bullying and other
forms of social abuse contribute to the high suicide and depression rates in young LGB
Cyberbullying, the harassment of individuals via online resources such as Facebook, is
of particular concern given its frequency and the difficulty of its regulation. While not
going into too much detail, cyberbullying is a worldwide issue that many MS have
addressed through independent or application of existing legislation. In the US, online
harassment and stalking laws are introduced on a state-by-state basis. Other regions in
which governments have passed cyberbullying legislation include Europe and Asia.

Hate Crime
Not only do LGBTs face social ostracism and employment discrimination, among other
things, but they also suffer violence based upon perceived sexual orientation and
gender identity known as “hate crime”.25 Hate crimes occur with alarming frequency in
all regions of the world. Crimes include harassment, assault, and even “grievous bodily
harm”.26 Also important in this discussion is the fact that hate crimes against the LGBT
community are grossly underreported for reasons including fear of not being taken
seriously or they don’t think they’ll be protected in the future. The UK Government
expresses its commitment to preventing hate crime in its report “Challenge It, Report It,
Stop It.” The report states that sexual orientation-based violence accounts for the
greatest percentage of hate crimes. It also outlines an approach that addresses
preventive measures, increased reporting and availability of support services, and more
effective management of cases.
Despite these measures taken by the UK government, the UK’s police forces reported
“more transphobic hate crimes between January and November [2014] than the whole
of 2013” with a 44% rise in crime against the transgender community in 2014 states that
the legislation has been ineffective thus far, it marks an important step towards LGBT
equality beginning in the government.

LGBT Youth, Suicide, and Bullying

The process, “coming out” can be terrifying, not only for the teenager but also for their
family and friends. This moment of honesty shows that the teenager or the individual
accepted their own orientation and identity and decided to share with others.
In the process of coming out, parents have the biggest responsibility. With a little
awareness and openness youth and parents can grow through this experience. If not,
parents may find the wrong solution on “honor killings” and “disinherit.”
Studies show that homeless LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to be sex traffic victims.
Bias and the parent’s strict ideas causes disinherit and honor killings. When youth run
away from getting murdered in the name of honor killings and kicked out their own
home because of the disinherit, they can find themselves in the street, broke and
homeless. Transsexuals in many countries cannot get accepted in the workplace and
that is why they can get started to work as sex workers. The same situation is a hope to
live for the youth.
LGBTQ+ youth is also dealing with other problems such as harassment and bullying,
both physical and mental. Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ youth exposed to callings
like homo, fag and sissy. And reports show that youth are being harassed at school.
Sometimes, because of the bullying, discrimination, name-callings, abuse, bias, honor
killings, run away, and disinherit, youth think and attempt suicide. No person should
ever feel the need to take their life because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Of course, most of the youth do not attempt suicide but those that do attempt usually do
that because of violence. As mentioned before, parents have an enormous part in this
process, family support may also be the solution Another study shows that, LGBTQ+
youth who experienced sever family rejection were more than 8 times more likely to
attempt suicide.

Sex Trafficking of LGBT Individuals

Human trafficking is a crime typically hidden with communities and societies. In addition
to that LGBTQ+ sex trafficking is commonly overlooked and rarely reported. Documents
reported that there is a bias against the individuals and unfortunately, in some countries
where being gay or trans is not allowed, where being an individual in the LGBTQ+
community is a taboo, individuals are being harassed and are being used easily as sex
LGBT Rights
Marriage Equality and Adoption
The issue of same-sex marriage and equality basically starts with not having the right to
marry a same-sex person. Many LGBTQ+ members cannot have the same marriage
rights with non-LGBTQ+ people including heterosexuals that they are able to marry
Article 16, Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Men and women of full age, without
any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a
family. They are entitled to equal rights to as marriage, during marriage and at its
dissolution. The very first marriage equality law was passed in the Netherlands in 2001.
Afterwards, in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Mexico, Spain, the United
Kingdom, the United States, same-sex marriage became legal. In Germany, Italy and
Switzerland, civil unions recognized. LGBTQ+ adoption is the adoption of children by
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. Image of a perfect family for most of the
people includes a mother figure and a father figure of opposite sexes and this mentality
has to end. Today, more and more gay and lesbian couples are becoming parents but
they face several legal issues when they decide to become a family. LGBTQ+ adoption
is legal in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Israel, Netherlands, Spain, and the
United Kingdom and in the United States.

Military Service
LGBTQ+ people serving as military personnel has always been an issue. Today, In
some Western Countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France,
Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and also
in and Israel LGBTQ+ individuals are allowed to serve as a personnel in the military.
However, that does not mean a total acceptance for the individuals, individuals may still
face discrimination and violence in the army. In 2011, United States repealed a policy
called “Do not ask, do not tell”.
Many countries neither ban nor support gay and lesbian service members.
In China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, it is not allowed to
serve LGBTQ+ individuals in military.

Health Care
LGBT people face a common set of challenges in accessing health services. There is a
long history of anti-LGBT bias in healthcare. Until 1973, homosexuality was listed as a
disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Many LGBTQ+
individuals were subjected to treatments such as electroshock therapy or castration in
the past.
HIV is a great concern in some LGBTQ+ groups. In addition, body image disorders,
eating disorders and obesity are more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual men
and women than heterosexual men and women. In addition to eating disorders, alcohol
and drug usage is more common among LGBTQ+ groups due to hate, negative acts,
violence and homophobia.

Further Readings

The “T” of LGBTI

Sex vs. Gender
Sex and gender are two different concepts. A person's sex refers to his or her biological
status as either male or female. The determination of a person's sex depends primarily
on various physical characteristics, including chromosomes, reproductive anatomy and
sex hormones, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
Gender, on the other hand, is a societal construct that deals with the expected
behaviors, roles and activities typically associated with the different sexes, the APA
said. Gender roles, which vary across cultures, influence how people act and feel about
Sexual orientation is different from gender identity. Sexual orientation is a person's
physical, emotional or romantic attraction to another person, while gender identity is
about one's own sense of self, according to GLAAD, an anti-discrimination organization.
Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual. For example, a person
born with male genitalia may transition to being female but may be attracted to females.
In this case, the person may identify as lesbian even though she was born with male

Defining the Term “Transgender”

"Transgender" is an umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity or
expression does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a
transgender person may identify as a woman despite having been born with male
genitalia. Often, transsexual people alter (or wish to alter) their bodies through
hormones, surgery, and other means to make their bodies as congruent as possible
with their gender identities. This process of transition through medical intervention is
often referred to as sex or gender reassignment, but more recently is also referred to as
gender affirmation. Before anything else, it is important to note the difference between a
transgender and a gender-queer person, the latter is referred to as someone who either
falls into both of the gender categories or none of them. People who see themselves as
being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside
these categories may identify as gender-queer- and should not be referred to as

Why are some people transgender?

One prominent hypothesis on the basis of gender dysphoria is that sexual differentiation
of the genitals occurs separately from sexual differentiation of the brain in utero, making
it possible that the body can veer in one direction and the mind in another.1 At the root
of this idea is the notion that gender itself—the sense of which category one belongs in,
as opposed to biological sex—is determined in the womb for humans. The
developmental mismatch idea draws support from two sets of findings. Animal studies
demonstrated that the genitals and the brain acquire masculine or feminine traits at
different stages of development in utero, setting up the potential for hormone
fluctuations or other factors to put those organs on different tracks. (See “Sex
Differences in the Brain,” The Scientist, October 2015.) And human studies have found
that, in several regions, the brains of trans people bear a greater resemblance to those
of cis people who share the trans subjects’ gender than to those of the same natal sex.

Why is this a Problem?

The root cause of the prejudice and dislike against transgender or transsexual people is
transphobia. Transphobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes, feelings or
actions toward transgender or transsexual people, or toward transsexuality.
Transphobia can include fear, aversion, hatred, violence, anger, or discomfort felt or
expressed towards people who do not conform to society's gender expectation.
Transphobia can take many different forms, including
• negative attitudes and beliefs
• aversion to and prejudice against transgender people
• irrational fear and misunderstanding
• disbelief or discounting preferred pronouns or gender identity
• derogatory language and name-calling
• bullying, abuse, and even violence
Transphobia can create both subtle and overt forms of discrimination. For example,
people who are transgender (or even just thought to be transgender) may be denied
jobs, housing, or health care, just because they’re transgender.

Extent of the problem?

According to UNDP, transphobia can be directed at individuals or groups and manifests
in many ways, including violence or other aggressive behavior, stigmatization, hostility,
disgust or other negative attitudes. It is often institutionalized through criminalization,
discrimination, social exclusion, hate speech and hostile media coverage that
pathologize and stigmatize trans people. A person’s experience of transphobia may be
aggravated (or mitigated) by their nationality, race, class, religion, economic
circumstances or disability. Trans people living with HIV also report HIV-related stigma,
discrimination and violence from within their own communities, as well as from families
and intimate partners.
Transphobic violence has various manifestations, and can be seen as a form of gender-
based violence. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project recorded 1,700 transphobic
killings of trans and gender non-conforming individuals worldwide between 2008 and
2014, the vast majority of them trans women. Many other killings go unreported. In the
United States, three-quarters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) homicide
victims in 2013 were trans women. Transphobia is sometimes particularly intense
against those who are marginalized in other ways, such as sex workers: two-thirds of
the 1,700 murdered trans people whose profession was known were sex workers, and
the levels of violence in these cases were extreme. Along with these murders, activists
and organizations worldwide have documented cases of arbitrary detention, torture,
mutilation and other inhumane and degrading treatment of trans people by individuals
and state perpetrators. Transphobia contributes to other risk dynamics
disproportionately experienced by trans people, including economic and educational
disenfranchisement and poor mental. It negatively impacts the health and well-being of
trans people within health-care settings themselves. For example, trans people are
often unable to change the way their sex and name are listed on their medical record to
reflect their gender identity. Other barriers to health care include cost, access to
specialists and a lack of providers who are knowledgeable and accepting of trans
people. This is due in part to the exclusion of trans people’s health-related issues from
standard medical training. Access to HIV testing, care and treatment among trans
people can be limited by experiences of stigma, discrimination or violence within the
health-care setting. Trans women experience serious challenges in adhering to HIV
care and treatment and therefore have low virological suppression rates. Being HIV
positive can compound trans identity-related stigma and discrimination. If incarcerated,
trans women living with HIV face interpersonal violence, a lack of safety, and threats to
privacy, which create barriers for accessing ART.

Legal recognition
According to UNDP, Trans people in many countries suffer from a lack of legal
recognition, equality and protection, and fundamental citizenship rights. These include
the right to a legal identity based on the gender of their choosing, and the right to
gender equality and equity, i.e. non-discrimination in all spheres of life based on their
gender identity or gender expression. In many contexts trans women are legally
identified as male and are unable to change their gender on identification cards and
passports. Trans men also face similar challenges. The violation of the fundamental
right to personhood perpetuates serious disadvantages in everyday life. The lack of
legal gender recognition can make it impossible for trans people to obtain any
identification document, let alone one that describes their correct gender. Simple
everyday activities—obtaining railway tickets, a phone line, state rations, a job, opening
a bank account or attending school or are made burdensome or even impossible. In
countries where the law states that only a person’s sex at birth can be listed on a
passport or other official identification, confusion may arise in situations where official
identification is required, causing uncomfortable scrutiny of trans persons and forcing
them to reveal their sex assigned at birth, even if they would prefer not to do so. Such
scrutiny also violates their right to privacy. Difficulties obtaining legal gender recognition
can block the access of trans people to health services, shelter, housing, steady
employment or education and contribute significantly to compromised health.
However, some countries have recognized gender identities beyond the male–female
binary and thereby extended constitutional rights to greater numbers of trans people:
• In 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal paved the way to recognize a third gender
officially in citizenship documents.
• In 2007, the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the National Database and
Registration Authority to add a “third gender” column to national identity cards for trans
people, thus giving them the right to register to vote
. • In 2014, India’s Supreme Court directed the government to recognize trans people as
a third gender and trans women who identify as female, and trans men who identify as
male, while guaranteeing the right to equality under the country’s constitution. It called
for special health and welfare programmes to support the needs of trans people. In
many countries, changes cannot be made to state identification documents unless the
individual has undergone gender reassignment surgery. A precondition of such surgery
may be a clinical diagnosis of gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. In some
cases this diagnosis requires registration, mandatory psychotherapy or an extended
stay at a psychiatric hospital. Furthermore, some countries retain controversial
sterilization requirements for those who seek gender reassignment or identification in a
new gender.

In many countries trans people can be stigmatized from an early age and may drop out
of education due to bullying and institutional discrimination, such as forced dress codes
(including school uniforms and hair length) or inappropriate toilet facilities. This occurs
in both secular and religiously affiliated schools and universities. The values of religious
institutions may make life particularly difficult for trans and gender non-conforming
children. The education gap caused by high rates of dropout (i.e. exclusion) causes
social marginalization and poverty among trans people. Many trans women surveyed in
South Africa had an advanced education but generally worked in positions that were
below their level of education and experience.

Sex work
Trans women and some trans men often have to resort to sex work as their only viable
option for employment after being rejected by their families and friends and faced with
systemic societal discrimination and exclusion. Some work in the sex industry because
of peer pressure, the need to have the commodities of life and also for funds to finance
costly medical transition. Sex work is illegal in most countries around the world and
criminalized in many countries. Criminalization is often compounded by “sodomy” laws
punishing sex that is not penile–vaginal. Therefore, trans sex workers are especially
vulnerable to rape as well as other forms of violence and human rights violation.
Frequently, police are the perpetrators of such violence. Many laws against rape do not
include anal sex, leaving trans people without legal protection if they are anally raped.
The general environment of criminalization both creates and enhances this lack of
safety and sometimes compromises safer sex practices such as condom use, due to
the fear of being harassed or detained by law enforcers for possessing condoms. Within
the sex worker community and sex work organizations, recognizing trans sex workers is
important in order to ensure that their particular needs are addressed. For example, the
New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective runs an outreach project that works exclusively with
trans sex workers to address their social, medical and employment needs. Since sex
work is decriminalized in New Zealand, sex workers may report workplace injustice;
however, due to stigma trans sex workers may be less empowered to do so.
Legal and political stigmatization and violence :
Trans people are excluded from society in various ways, and their marginalization
reduces their access to services and increases their risk of experiencing violence and
acquiring HIV. Some specific types of legal and political stigmatization are summarized
• Criminalization: In many countries which ban same-sex sexual relationships, sex
between trans women or trans men and non-trans men, or between trans men and non-
trans women, is effectively criminalized. In some countries, prohibitions against
“homosexual propaganda” make trans people especially susceptible to police and
societal abuse, due to assumptions that trans people are homosexual. Since little
protection from the law is available to trans people in such environments, perpetrators
of violence are rarely punished and the right to due process before the judicial system is
often denied.
• Police harassment and violence: The application of laws such as those mentioned
above, the criminalization of sex work, conservative social attitudes and non-
accountability make police violence and extortion directed at trans people
commonplace. In several countries broad “public nuisance”, “vagrancy” and “public
order” laws are freely used by the police to harass or abuse trans people. Some
countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific retain laws against “cross-
dressing” that can be used to target trans people. Once they are deprived of liberty,
trans people face abuse not only from police, but also from fellow inmates, since they
are often put in cells based on their sex at birth and not on the gender with which they
• Migration: Barriers to mobility can limit important life activities of trans people.
Countries where same-sex relations and/or gender reassignment are criminalized may
prevent trans people from entering or seeking asylum even when fleeing persecution
due to transphobia in their home country. HIV positive status can be another factor
leading to infringement of trans people’s fundamental right to leave or enter a country.
• Religious stigma: Conservative religious attitudes can influence laws and policies in
ways that affect trans people negatively. For example, religious groups have taken
issue with laws on domestic violence that did not have rigid definitions of the gender of
the parties involved and that could otherwise have served to protect trans people.

Further readings

(delegates must be thoroughly researched on the trans experience and trans rights in
the subcontinent)


The “I” of LGBTI

Introduction of the topic:

To understand the struggles faced by the intersex community, we must first look into
how this term is defined and how the community has been viewed historically in multiple
parts of the world.
1. Definition:
Generally, we recognize intersex people as being born with some biological
characteristics as being “male” and others as being “female.” However if we look into
this term in depth, we observe that there are many intersex variations. According to the
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and
chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations.
In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in others, they are not apparent
until puberty. Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at
In biological terms, sex may be determined by a number of factors present at birth,
• the number and type of sex chromosomes,
• the type of gonads—ovaries or testicles,
• sex hormone levels,
• the internal reproductive anatomy (such as the uterus in females), and
• the external genitalia.
People whose characteristics are not either all typically male or all typically female at
birth are intersex.
Some intersex traits are not always visible at birth; some babies may be born with
ambiguous genitals, while others may have ambiguous internal organs (testes and
ovaries). Others will not become aware that they are intersex unless they receive
genetic testing, because it does not manifest in their phenotype.
2. History:
Throughout history, we have seen various terms being used for the intersex community,
especially in medical terminology.
The term intersex has taken nearly a century to gain traction within the medical
community. However, accounts of intersexuality exist all throughout history, from the
mythic to the mundane. Ancient Greece had the god Hermaphroditus, from whom we
gained the word hermaphrodite, depicted as a figure with broad hips, breasts, and a
penis. Worship of Hermaphroditus possibly originates from an even more ancient
worship of Ardhanārīśwara, a composite of the Hindu deities Śiva and Pārvatī, with a
body comprising of both male and female halves.
The word “hermaphrodite” used to describe intersex people goes back at least as far as
Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia, published in 79 AD. “There come into the world
children of both sexes in one, whom we call Hermaphrodites”. Pliny also wrote that an
older term existed: “androgyni”, from which we derive the word “androgynous”. The term
“intersex” was coined in 1917. Prior to that, intersex people were referred to as
“hermaphrodites”, which is now considered an offensive term.
It was only after French zoologist and developmental biologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-
Hilaire’s 1837 work Histoire Générale et Particulière des Anomalies de l’Organisation
Chez l’Homme et les Animaux, a foundational treatise on birth defects, that intersex
conditions really received any kind of thorough medical description in the west. Saint-
Hilaire described sex as consisting of three physiological components: the first being
gonads, (either ovaries or testicles); the second being the internal accessory glands,
(uterus or prostate and seminal vesicles); and the third being the external genitalia, (a
penis and scrotum, or vulva and clitorus). This essentially allowed for several distinct
categories of sex, of which two are the most common.
About forty years later, Edwin Klebs reduced the number of intersex categories to three:
True hermaphrodites were those with both ovarian and testicular tissue, female
pseudohermaphrodites had only ovarian tissue, and male pseudohermaphrodites had
only testicular tissue. These classifications were regardless of what a person’s body
looked like, and was based entirely on the gonads. Klebs believed in absolutes when it
came to biology, and so he defined sex in such terms, declaring that if someone has
ovaries they must be some form of female, even if they were in fact born without a
uterus, and had genitals similar to a penis.
Then intersex was analyzed through “teratology” whereby it was seen as a “mutation” or
“malformation,” eventually resulting in “normalization surgeries” (something we will
discuss later in this guide). Today as modern medicine has made bigger strides,
normalization surgeries are highly discouraged due to a multitude of reasons.
Simultaneously, if we look at different parts of the world like Africa, Asia, the Pacific etc,
we see a broad range of cultural perspectives on sex and gender, and also towards
medicine as a whole like Navajo’s five gender and three sex model, or the Indian
subcontinents “Hijra” community, however, due to European colonization, over time
these diverse cultural perspectives were lost as well, were replaced by the binary
ideologies of Christian missionaries and Western colonists.
3. Discussion of the topic:
i. Problems faced by the intersex community:
a. “Normalization” surgeries:
During the 1960s, doctors started to perform normalization surgeries of intersex
children. The thought process in these cases being, that when a family had a child who
had reproductive organs that resembled both the “male” and “female” genetalia, it was
often the case that one of the two was more pronounced. This would be entirely up to
the surgeon and they would completely mutilate one of the genitals in favor of the other,
and would shape the genitals in such a way, so as to assign the child one specific
gender at birth. The idea behind this theory was, that gender is largely the result of how
one is raised. If a person is given certain genitals, and raised in accordance with that
genital configuration, they will develop a healthy gender identity.
This idea persisted for decades, leading to thousands of unnecessary procedures.
Doctors were telling parents that their children needed surgery, and that the children
should not be told that they received the surgery, instead being raised as the “gender”
assigned by the surgeon. This gender was usually “female” because surgically it was
easier to form a vagina, than attempt to create a penis, or as the popular quip among
urogenital surgeons at the time goes, “It’s easier to dig a hole, than build a pole”.
Oftentimes, normalisation surgery has detrimental effects on the recipients, including
gender dysphoria, body image issues, and a decreased sensitivity in the genitals,
leading to sexual dysfunction. This also had deeper legal implications for individuals
who felt they did not fit into their assigned gender at birth as they grew up. The
sensitivity of the genitals was not of major concern to many surgeons at the time, with
patients sometimes receiving complete clitorectomies, essentially a “female
circumcision”. The reasoning, as put by a Lancet medical journal article in 1984 is as
follows: “We recommended a change to the female sex, because the penis was so tiny
that a normal sexual life in the male role seemed most unlikely, whereas ‘fertile’ life in
the female sex was clearly possible”.
This history of surgery was also a history of shame and stigmatization. In some cases,
doctors instructed parents to conceal the diagnosis and treatment from the child,
instilling feelings of shame in parents and children both. Many intersex people did not
learn about their conditions until they accessed their medical files as adults—sometimes
as late as in their 50s.
Over time and with support and pressure from advocates, some medical norms have
evolved. Today, intersex children and their families often consult a team of specialists,
and not just a surgeon. The medical community has evolved in its approach to intersex
cases—which doctors often categorize as “Differences of Sex Development” or “DSD”—
by establishing “DSD teams.” These teams convene multiple healthcare specialists,
including mental health providers, to advise on and treat intersex patients. Disclosure of
a child’s intersex traits to the child is widely recommended and commonly conducted.
During this evolution in care, cosmetic surgeries on intersex children’s genitals have
become highly controversial within the medical community. Global organizations, like
the United Nations World Health Organization, Amnesty international and the American
Medical Student Association have all also deeply condemned such medical procedures.
b. Genetic diagnosis of Intersex babies:
Oftentimes, when families discern the sex of the baby while still in the womb, and the
baby turns out to be intersex, they decide to abort the baby in fear of having to raise an
intersex child due to the societal pressure and stigma they feel they could face in
Another medical procedure called, “Preimplanation genetic diagnosis (PGD)” can be
used in discriminatory ways against intersex babies. When used to screen for a specific
genetic disease, its main advantage is that it avoids selective abortion, as the method
makes it highly likely that the baby will be free of the disease under consideration.
However in this case, the procedure can be used to eliminate intersex babies, never
once considering how they could go onto live highly productive and fulfilled lives.
In many parts of the world, intersex people fear abandonement, a threat to their life,
neglect, widespread infanticide and even murder.
c. Discrmination and hate crimes:
Intersex individuals are often viewed as lesser or different from the general populace
and are thus subject to basic level discrimination and even hate crimes in many parts of
the world.
Over time, steps have been taken by both the UN and individual governments to rectify
this and safeguard the lives of intersex people. However incidents continue to spring up.
In particular, the South – Asian “Hijra” holds a very deep history in that part of the world,
however in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, hate crimes and looking
at them as lesser is still commonplace. Strides have been made in this regard, with the
government of Pakistan recognizing a third gender, and gender activists promoting the
term “khwaja sira” as a more respectable alternative. India has also taken steps to
reduce “gender normalization” surgeries in their state as well.
d. Suicide and mental health in intersex communities:
The impact of discrimination and stigma can also be seen in high rates of suicidal
tendencies and self harm. Multiple anecdotal reports, including from Hong Kong and
Kenya point to high levels of suicidality amongst intersex people. The Australian
sociological study of 272 people born with atypical sex characteristics found that 60%
had thought about suicide, and 42% thought about self-harm, "on the basis of issues
related to having an intersex variation ... 19% had attempted suicide"; causes identified
included stigma, discrimination, family rejection and school bullying
A 2013 German clinical study found high rates of distress, with "prevalence rates of self-
harming behavior and suicidal tendencies ... comparable to traumatized women with a
history of physical or sexual abuse." Similar results have been reported in Australia and
e. Intersex athletes:
Another pressing matter that has surfaced, especially in recent times is that of intersex
individuals as athletes; people often have opposite, and rather polarizing opinions on
this matter, with intersex athletes and allies advocating to let the athletes compete in
their chosen sex while others argue that physiological differences in intersex athletes
provide them with an unfair advantage (or in some cases disadvantage) in the sport that
they compete in.
This debate becomes especially relevant when we talk about more physically
demanding sports, such as weight lifting, wrestling and mixed martial arts, where the
effects of physiology and extra testosterone are more pronounced.
Intersex activists maintain that they should be assessed on skill rather than how they
are made biologically, and should thus be allowed to compete in their identified sex.
One such case appeared of Caster Semenaya, whereby it was ruled that she had to
medically lower her horomone levels to compete, which intersex activists felt was highly
unethical and discriminatory.
In this regard, another segment of society feels that there could and inevitably will be a
separate league for intersex athletes which would both be inclusive, and would be in
accordance with rules and regulations.
f. Education and employment:
An Australian sociological survey of 272 persons born with atypical sex characteristics,
published in 2016, found that 18% of respondents (compared to an Australian average
of 2%) failed to complete secondary school, with early school leaving coincident with
pubertal medical interventions, bullying on the basis of physical characteristics, and
other factors. A Kenyan news report suggests high rates of early school leaving, with
the organisation Gama Africa reporting that 60% of 132 known intersex people had
dropped out of school "because of the harassment and treatment they received from
their peers and their teachers".
The Australian study found that schools lacked inclusive services such as relevant
puberty and sex education curricula and counselling, for example, not representing a full
range of human bodily diversity. Only a quarter of respondents felt positive about their
schooling experiences, schooling coincided with disclosure of an intersex condition,
associated with well-being risks, and early school leaving peaked "during the years
most associated with puberty and hormone therapy interventions". Cognitive differences
may also be associated with some traits such as sex chromosome variations.
Nevertheless, in addition to very high rates of early school leaving, the Australian study
also found that a higher proportion of study participants completed undergraduate or
postgraduate degrees compared to the general Australian population.
This inevitably leads to a greater rate of poverty and unemployment in the intersex
community, as they fear rampant discrimination and harassment in the school, and work
environment. The rate of dropping out from schools in significantly higher in the intersex
community. Stigma, structural and verbal discrimination, harassment as well as harmful
practices and lack of legal recognition can lead to inadequate education, broken careers
and poverty (including homelessness) due to pathologisation and related trauma, a
disturbed family life due to taboo and medicalisation, lack of self-esteem and a high risk
of becoming suicidal.

Additional Information:
a. History:
b. Normalization surgeries:
c. Genetic diagnosis:
d. Suicide and mental health:
e. Intersex people and sports:
f. Employment:

Relevant Resolutions

Statement by the General Assembly

In a statement produced by the General Assembly 18 December 2008, the UN formally
recognized non-traditional sexual orientation and gender identity and declared its
commitment to the protection of LGBT people following a letter from the Organization of
American States requesting that the General Assembly address this topic. The General
Assembly further expressed its concern regarding the human rights violations of the
LGBT community and its intention to discuss LGBT equality in the future.
Resolution 17/19: Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity Adopted by the
Human Rights Council in June 2011, Resolution 17/19 acknowledges the injustices
inflicted upon the LGBT community and requests that a study be produced on the
current treatment of LGBT people. The resolution determined that the study would be
presented in a future panel session.
Report 19/41: Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals
based on their sexual orientation and gender identity The United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights produced this report in November 2011 in response to
Resolution 17/19. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the experiences of LGBT
people around the world and emphasizes the role of the state in protecting human
Report 19/41 begins by affirming the rights of all individuals to equality and
nondiscrimination. It acknowledges that different MS operate according to different
value systems, discrimination of and violence against LGBT people is a gross violation
of human rights that goes against the principles of the United Nations. It further explains
that it is the role of the state to create unbiased policy and make resources available to
everyone. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among other
agreements do not specify LGBT people as a vulnerable group, but it was
retrospectively established that sexual orientation was the basis for discrimination in
many cases. Resolution 19/41 asserts that the state is responsible for protecting its
people’s rights to privacy and to “life, liberty and security of persons”.
The Report also addresses types of violence and discrimination, expressing particular
concern for lesbian and transgender women who “are at particular risk because of
gender inequality and power relations within families and wider society”. Additionally,
the nature of crimes against LGBT people is such that they are especially cruel and
violent. Violence includes rape, torture, etc., and often it leads to death. Those who
survive hate-crimes experience serious psychological damage following their traumatic
experiences. The Report maintains that this psychological violence is just as serious as
physical violence, and often the two go hand-in-hand. Those responsible for violence
against LGBT people come from a wide range of backgrounds, including those in
positions of power. In Indonesia, police allegedly beat a gay couple who were at the
police station following civilian attack on them.
The General Assembly discusses in-depth the role of law in the context of LGBT
communities. Member States are encouraged to decriminalize homosexuality and any
legislation that would allow for their discrimination. For instance, LGBT people may be
arbitrarily arrested using “offences not directly related to sexual conduct, such as those
pertaining to physical appearance or so-called ‘public scandal’”.
Discrimination in the workplace, health care, and education are also examined. The
importance of these laws explicit in their commitment to protect LGBT people is made
clear. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reaffirms the
expectations of equality in the workplace and prohibits “any discrimination in access to
health care…on the grounds of sexual orientation and identity”.42 Not only must the
legal framework of a nation make health care available to the LGBT community, but
also social dynamics must allow them to seek health care without fear of persecution.
Health care is essential for all people in its advancement of public health. Transgender
people would ideally have the services needed to undergo gender reassignment
therapy, but at this time it is not a widely accepted practice nor is it an affordable option
for many.
Systemic discrimination occurs in education as well, often perpetrated by school
administration and staff. Also alarming is the bullying of young people who don’t
conform to gender norms by their peers. Attitudes within the education authorities and
the wider community must be tolerant towards LGBT people, in order to shape school
policy in such a way that would protect students. Furthermore, sex education in schools
should address subjects relating to homosexual and heterosexual people. As noted in
the Report, “in order to be comprehensive, sexual education must pay special attention
to diversity, since everyone has the right to deal with his or her own sexuality”.
Additionally, the Resolution expresses its support and commitment to protect those who
speak out on behalf of the LGBT community, and the institutions dedicated do its
advocacy. Those who engage in this activity should be free from harassment, violence,
and other forms of discrimination.

Finally, the General Assembly affirms the obligations of the state in its legal framework.
Gender recognition and acceptance of non-traditional genders is essential in furthering
the equality of LGBT people. Recognition of non-traditional relationships is another
asset, such that those in homosexual relationships can enjoy the same rights and
benefits from the state as those in heterosexual relationships. This document is the
most comprehensive of all documents produced by the UN on LGBT issues. Although it
provides few explanations of how to reform and strengthen legislation, it identifies and
provides in-depth analysis of existing issues that must be addressed. Resolution 27/32:
Human rights, sexual orientation and gender Resolution 27/32 was passed in
September 2014 as a follow-up to Resolution 17/19 and subsequent report. The
Resolution “requests the High Commissioner to update the [previous] report with a view
to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination”44 to be
presented at a future occasion.

Measures Taken
In addition to the actions taken by the High Commissioner and the Human Rights
Council, the United Nations is currently sponsoring “Free & Equal,” a campaign started
in 2013 dedicated to public education for LGBT equality. The Campaign “works to
inform individuals of their human rights, identify and address human rights challenges,
and assist government in fulfilling their human rights obligations” and is aimed at
challenging attitudes underpinning LGBT discrimination. Celebrities work with the
Campaign to spread awareness through social media. Additionally, the Free & Equal
Global Film Series encourages education about LGBT topics through “documentaries
and narrative films that explore the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
intersex people in different parts of the world”. This collection of films is a valuable tool
to promote United Nations ideals, and screenings are available at UN offices around the
Finally, the UN Human Rights Council engages with governments and civil society
independent of the Free & Equal Campaign through public events, media presence, and
dialogue with world leaders, and creation of educational tools.