US Progress on LGBT Rights But Equality Lacks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Tremendous progress has been made over the past 50 years for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United States, but sadly, “equality is still not within reach and in many cases not visible” for LGBT communities. the UN’s independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity said on Tuesday.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz told a UN news conference after a 10-day visit to the United States that he applauds President Joe Biden for his “very strong” executive actions in his first days in office to eliminate discrimination and violence against the LGBT community. He said he was “extremely concerned” about a coordinated series of actions at the state and local level based on “prejudice and stigma, to attack and roll back the rights of LGBT people.”

Madrigal-Borloz said that when it comes to access to health, employment, education and housing, the LGBT community suffers.

Among young adults aged 18 to 25, for example, LGBT people have 2.2 times the risk of homelessness, 23% of LGBT adults of color have no health coverage, and in a recent study 43% of lesbian, gay and bisexual participants reported experiencing at least one act of discrimination or harassment, she said.

Madrigal-Borloz, a lawyer and human rights advocate from Costa Rica, also expressed grave concern about the disproportionate impact of violence against the LGBT community.

He cited the National Crime Victimization Survey which found that 20.3% of hate crimes were related to sexual orientation or gender identity bias, significantly disproportionate to the LGBT population in the US, which he said is typically estimated to be between 5% and 8%. She also cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that found bisexual women experienced intimate partner violence at higher rates than other populations, with 46 percent reporting being raped and 74.9 percent reporting being sexually assaulted. except rape. “Extremely disturbing.”

Madrigal-Borloz, who was appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, completed his visits to Washington, Birmingham, Alabama, Miami and San Diego at the invitation of the US government. He said he met with more than 70 federal, state and local representatives, more than 100 civil society representatives and people with “lived experience” in the LGBT community.

He stressed that his comments on Tuesday reflected his preliminary observations and his final report with recommendations will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2023.

“The conclusion of my visit at this preliminary moment is that significant efforts are being made by the current government to dismantle systems of social exclusion,” said Madrigal-Borloz. However, there is also “a significant risk that LGBT people will be caught up in what I have described as the revulsion created by all these actions at the local level.”

He said that NGOs and human rights defenders have found at least 280 ongoing legislative attempts at the local level that would roll back LGBT rights, “and which also create a terribly polarizing narrative that exacerbates already high and alarming risks of violence and discrimination. “

As examples, Madrigal-Borloz cited legislation in Alabama that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth and legislation in Florida nicknamed “don’t say gay” by opponents that prohibits teachers from talking about sex orientation or gender identity through the third grade. It also cited limits on comprehensive sexuality and gender education, as well as participation in sports for transgender people.

He stressed that there is typically no evidence “that any of these measures should reasonably be considered in a democratic society.”

Madrigal-Borloz, who is also a research fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to an abortion is also “a devastating action” for lesbians, bisexuals and trans women. This is “because it is members of these communities who also suffer disproportionately from unwanted teenage pregnancies,” she said.

“More abortions are also needed statistically,” he said, “and LGBT people in general benefit greatly from sexual and reproductive health services provided by abortion providers in various states, and closing these centers would disproportionately affect those people ».

Madrigal-Borloz said suggestions that after Roe v. Wade, other precedents could be overturned could have a huge impact on the LGBT community, especially if same-sex marriage were illegal and homosexuality was criminalized, as it is today in more than 65 people. Countries.

He also pointed to early statistics showing that 98% of monkeypox cases are in men who have sex with men, which he said “is very concerning to me because it creates the risk of further stigmatization and discrimination against this population.”

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