Today HRC recognizes the 13th annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) with the launch of a video series highlighting global innovators in the fight for LGBTQ equality. In addition, the organization is shining a spotlight on the need for continued U.S. engagement on protecting the human rights of LGBTQ individuals around the world, especially in the ongoing crisis occurring in Chechnya.
“While the global LGBTQ community is filled with innovative advocates advancing equality around the world, we are still combatting horrendous violence in the U.S. and beyond — as we have seen most recently with the detention, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya,” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb. “It is disturbing that the White House is trying to build a wall around our country as LGBTQ people and others are trying to find refuge from extreme violence and persecution in places like Syria and Chechnya. Equally disturbing is the violence transgender women of color are experiencing in the United States. We call on world leaders to do more — not less — to protect the human rights of all people around the world. If we turn a blind eye when human rights are violated, we all the suffer consequences of living in a world of violence and instability.”
The HRC Foundation video series highlights the work of outstanding advocates who were honored as Global Innovators at HRC’s recent Global Innovative Advocacy Summit. Featured are Laura Frida Weinstein Nisenbon of Columbia, who is advocating to allow transgender people to change their names on identification documents; and Abhina Aher of India, who is using dance to build community and raise awareness of her country’s transgender community.
Despite the work of innovative LGBTQ advocates from around the world, discrimination and social stigma continue to have negative, often tragic, consequences for LGBTQ people. Last month, reports surfaced that Chechen police have detained, beaten and tortured at least 100 gay men. The Russian LGBT Network claimed that as many as 20 men may have been killed in the attacks in Chechnya, a republic within Russia. From working with the U.S. administration and Congress to activating membership, HRC has sent a clear message that we have our #EyesOnChechnya and that the human rights violations in Chechnya must stop.
The situation for LGBTQ people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBTQ people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution and violence.
- Anti-LGBTQ discrimination continues to put lives at real risk. 72 countries currently criminalize same-sex relationships. More than 2,300 murders of transgender people were recorded between 2008 and 2016, according to data from the Trans Murder Monitoring project;
- In up to 10 countries, same-sex conduct may be punishable by death;
- Governments in Lithuania, Nigeria and Russia are silencing equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws — a disturbing trend that leads to human rights violations;
- Same-sex marriage licenses are being issued nationwide in 20 countries, and in some jurisdictions of Mexico and the United Kingdom.
IDAHOT celebrates the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) resolution to declassify same-sex attraction as a mental disorder. The move followed a similar decision by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. The WHO’s monumental change created a shift in how many LGBTQ people were treated. In 2004, LGBTQ activists gathered for the first time to mark this date with rallies in support of equality. The anniversary is now marked by celebrations, governmental proclamations, and renewed efforts to end the discrimination and violence that LGBTQ people throughout the world still face.