Demanding a Post-2015 Development Agenda Inclusive of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

At the 58th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the LBT Caucus—a group of LBT activists from around the world—wrote a statement demanding the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in the CSW process. The LBT statement received overwhelming support and was signed by over 70 organizations and more than 20 individuals. Because LGBT people and issues related to SOGI are often invisibilized in discussions of sustainable development, the LBT Caucus has decided to use an updated version of the statement as our manifesto for SOGI inclusion in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

This manifesto (full text, below) will be open to signatures indefinitely and the list of sign-ons below will be updated approximately once per month. To add your endorsement to the manifesto, please fill out this form.

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We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations and individuals, are outraged that, despite the United Nations’ decades-long commitment to anti-discrimination, governments engaging in the ongoing Post-2015 discussions have so far failed to meet their obligations towards all human beings. They have done this by sidelining evidence of and broad regional support for sexual rights, the right to development, and the need to recognize a diversity of families, sexualities, and gender identities. They have also selectively ignored segments of their own populations, including people who are targeted for discrimination and violence because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

We are deeply disappointed at this attempt to render our experiences, communities, and families invisible. And we stand alongside the people in other groups who have been ignored or isolated in similar ways.

We have been told that sexual orientation and gender identity are "too controversial" and that they have nothing to do with development. We know better. And so do our governments, though many appear to willfully ignore our presence and our realities in all regions of the world.

The Post-2015 agenda is meant to set new, universally applicable, development goals. To do this credibly, this agenda must acknowledge the devastating impact of violence, discrimination and marginalization in our lives everywhere. Study after study concludes that individuals stigmatized or targeted because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity face discrimination, violence and bullying that can force us out of growing environments. People assumed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans* are kicked out of housing or denied employment, facts that have direct impact on our lives and earning potential. Legal and socially condoned discrimination against our communities marginalizes many of us, putting us at additional risk of violence, HIV, and other health problems. Discrimination and stigma further prevents us from seeking or receiving needed care. Too often, the result is preventable suffering, institutional violence and poverty.

We are outraged at the continued criminalization of our organizing, restrictions on our freedoms of expression and association, and the relentless attacks on our human rights. These violations take place in all regions. Dialogue and democracy require respect for diversity, not criminal sanctions for human rights defenders, health professionals, and anyone who does not adhere to prevailing social mores. The criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity, and related homophobia and transphobia do not translate into lasting social benefit for anyone. Quite to the contrary, as the World Bank recently concluded, hateful policies have both an economic and a personal cost.

We are incensed at the lack of meaningful recognition of these issues in the discussions on the Post-2015 agenda so far. When world governments come together at the United Nations, they have an obligation to transcend hatred and build on existing knowledge of the realities of people’s lives . Instead, we have seen several governments perpetuate denial, divisiveness and myths, and many more remain silent in face of political pressure and bullying. We all know that sexual orientation and gender identity often are an undercurrent in the discussions on a number of “controversial” issues. And we are tired of the willful ignorance, tepid support or overt bowing to geopolitical pressures that make simple recognition of our lives and communities impossible.

We are appalled by the political and ideological excuses put forward to justify the exclusion of language related to sexual orientation or gender identity in global consensus documents. Governments have already made agreements on many of the topics and issues that are being positioned as "most controversial" in negotiations in New York and Geneva and at the regional level. The push by some to roll back language that has been agreed decades ago is disingenuous. In 2014, we know better. The world’s social justice movements have moved on and we need governments to catch up.

Everyone is entitled to human rights regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. These rights are neither controversial nor negotiable. Development, equality, and enjoyment of human rights for all will never be realized if a small number of governments, as well as the Holy See, continue to deny the reality that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are human beings.

Despite the attempt to render us invisible, we draw strength from the knowledge that we are anything but invisible. In our advocacy at the United Nations and at home, we clearly, publicly, and repeatedly draw attention to the discrimination, violence and marginalization we face and their devastating impact on people’s lives and development, as well as our global resistance and activism in the face of adversity.

And we are not alone. In various global spaces, delegations from several regions have stood up for human rights for all people and for the need to overcome violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in order to achieve any development goals. We are pleased to see the increasing support of certain states from global South. We are grateful to those who speak up for the recognition and inclusion of our human rights, and we commend them for their leadership.

The Post-2015 agenda is meant to focus on sustainable development, a multidimensional concept that has ecological, economic and social dimensions, of which respect for sexual and reproductive rights and diverse sexualities and gender identities is a crucial part. We should not have to wait any longer to be recognized again in global UN negotiations that directly impact our communities and lives. We refuse to be rendered invisible, or to have development policies touted as progress even as they ignore, marginalize or create further risk for us. We demand the creation of specific analysis and development targets for meaningful and equal recognition in education, work, governance, economy, social security and other areas of concern.

The recognition and fulfillment of the rights and needs of all groups, regardless of sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, is a crucial step towards sustainable development of all nations. It is time for governments to acknowledge what we all know to be true.

Signed (Click here to add your signature. Signatures will be updated periodically)

Organizations

  1. ACDemocracia - Acción Ciudadana por la Democracia y el Desarrollo (Ecuador)
  2. ACUERDO NACIONAL DE JOVENES (ANJ-ECUADOR) (ECUADOR)
  3. Advocates for Youth (USA)
  4. Agrupación Feminista LGBTI 'las insumisas de Lilith' (Peru)
  5. Agrupación Lésbica Rompiendo el Silencio (RS) (Chile / Regional)
  6. AIDS Action Foundation (AAF) (St. Lucia)
  7. Alianza por la Solidaridad (Spain)
  8. APCOM (Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health) (Regional)
  9. Arc International (Global)
  10. Articulación Feminista Marcosur (South America Regional)
  11. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA) (Thailand)
  12. Association for Progressive Communications (APC) (Global)
  13. ASTRA Network and Federation for Women and Family Planning (Poland)
  14. Atria, Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History (The Netherlands)
  15. Balance (Mexico)
  16. Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS) (Caribbean Regional)
  17. Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) (USA)
  18. Center for Women’s Global Leadership (USA)
  19. Centro de Investigación y Promoción para América Central de Derechos Humanos (CIPAC) (Costa Rica / Regional)
  20. Closet de Sor Juana AC (Mexico)
  21. COC Netherlands (Netherlands)
  22. Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local (El Salvador)
  23. Colombia Diversa (Colombia)
  24. Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad (ConsorcioMX) (México)
  25. Cotidiano Mujer (Uruguay)
  26. Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (Fiji)
  27. Elles (Cameroon)
  28. Engajamundo (Brazil)
  29. Equidad de género: ciudadanía, trabajo y familia, AC (Mexico)
  30. Equidad, Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos (Perú)
  31. Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres (Mexico)
  32. Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la diversidad de El Salvador (ESMULES) (El Salvador)
  33. Feminist Task Force (Global)
  34. Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (Fiji)
  35. FOKUS – Forum for women and development (Norway)
  36. French Family Planning Movement (MFPF) (France)
  37. Fundación Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad Sexual AC (Mexico)
  38. Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer (FEIM) (Argentina)
  39. Fundación Reflejos de Venezuela (Venezuela)
  40. Fundación Triángulo, por la igualdad social de lesbianas, gais, bisexuales y trans. (España)
  41. GenderProud (Global)
  42. GESTOS- HIV, Communication and Gender (Brazil)
  43. GLBTQ Jamaica (GLBTQJA) (Jamaica)
  44. Global Faith and Justice Project (USA)
  45. Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) (Global)
  46. Haus of Khameleon (HoK) (Fiji)
  47. ILGA LAC (Argentina)
  48. Iniciativas de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (ICID) (Spain)
  49. Iniciativas de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (ICID) (Spain)
  50. Instituto de Apoyo a la Diversidad Sexual (INADIS) (Peru)
  51. Instituto Runa de Desarrollo y Estudios sobre Género (Instituto Runa) (Peru)
  52. INTER-MUJERES (Puerto Rico)
  53. Interculturalidad, Salud y Derechos A.C. (INSADE) (Regional)
  54. International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights (INCRESE) (Nigeria)
  55. International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (Global)
  56. International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) (USA)
  57. International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) (Global)
  58. International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association Latin America/Caribbean (ILGA LAC)(Latin America/Caribbean regional)
  59. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) (Global)
  60. International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) (USA)
  61. Ipas (USA)
  62. Iranti-Org (South Africa)
  63. Italian Association for Women in Development (Italy)
  64. Koinonia, Centro de Investigación, Capacitación y Consultoría (Argentina)
  65. LACCASO, Latin American and the Caribbean Council of AIDS (Latin America/Caribbean regional)
  66. Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) (Germany)
  67. LLH - The Norwegian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organisation (LLH) (Norway)
  68. Loretto Women's Network (United States)
  69. Micro Rainbow International (MRI) (UK)
  70. Minority Women in Action (Kenya)
  71. Movimiento de Mujeres de Sectores Populares Luna Creciente (Ecuador)
  72. Pacific Feminist SRHR Coalition (Pacific regional)
  73. Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN) (Tonga)
  74. Pacific Youth Council (Pacific regional)
  75. Pan Africa ILGA (Regional)
  76. Plataforma Decidir Nos Hace Libres (Spain)
  77. Plataforma Nacional de las Mujeres (Ecuador)
  78. Primer Movimiento Peruano GLBT (PMP) (USA)
  79. PROFAMILIA (Puerto Rico)
  80. Punto Género AC (Mexico)
  81. Rainbow Rights Project (The Philippines)
  82. Real People, Real Vision NGO (Georgia)
  83. Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ) (Global)
  84. Red Nacional de Mujeres (Colombia)
  85. Red Salvadoreña de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (El Salvador)
  86. Republika Libre (RL) (Dominican Republic)
  87. Research Institute Without Walls (RIWW) (United States)
  88. Resurj: Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (Global)
  89. RSFL, Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (Sweden)
  90. RSFU, Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Sweden)
  91. S.H.E, Social, Health and Empowerment Feminist Collective of Transgender Women of Africa, Africa Regional Initiative (South Africa)
  92. Sex og Politikk (Norwegian Association for Sexual and Reproductive Rights) (SoP) (Norway)
  93. Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) (Guyana)
  94. Society Without Violence NGO (Armenia)
  95. Solidarity Alliance for Human Rights (Nigeria) (SAHR) (Nigeria)
  96. SPoD, Social Policies Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (Turkey)
  97. Tonga Leitis Association (TLA) (Tonga)
  98. Tonga Leitis Association (Tonga)
  99. Transgender and intersex Africa (TIA) (South Africa)
  100. Transgender Europe (TGEU) (Regional)
  101. United & Strong (St. Lucia)
  102. Uphila Nqobilee Foundation (PN) (RSA Gauteng)
  103. Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) (The Netherlands)
  104. Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) (USA)
  105. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) (Global)
  106. Women's Health and Equal Rights Initiative (WHER) (Nigeria)
  107. World YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Coalition) (Global)
  108. YouAct: European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (European Region)
  109. Youth Voices Count (YVC) (Regional (Asia-Pacific))
  110. LGBT Arabs (USA)
  111. Counselling Center for Transgender People T-Der (T-Der) (Turkey)
  112. DIYA Pakistan (Development of Institution & Youth Alliance) (Pakistan)
  113. HATS Community Empowerment Programme (HACEP-Ghana) (Ghana)
  114. International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) (Global)
  115. Romeo Youth Development Foundation (RYDF) (UGANDA)
  116. Tanzania Sisi Kwa Sisi Foundation (TSSF) (Tanzania)

Individuals

  1. Adrienne Germain (President Emerita, International Women's Health Coalition) (USA)
  2. Alyssa Trombitas (usa)
  3. Amalia Jurj (Romania)
  4. Ana Margarita Rojas M (FRV) (Venezuela)
  5. Anthony J Marciona (etc.inc.) (USA)
  6. Assem Al Tawdi (USA)
  7. Bachir Ali Toudert (Board Member of Pan Africa ILGA) (Algeria)
  8. Cai Wilkinson (Australia)
  9. Carolina Johnson (AZ)
  10. Cecilia Espinoza (Ipas) (Nicaragua)
  11. Claire Tatyzo (YWCA) (Australia)
  12. Clara Fok (Human Rights Activist) (Hong Kong)
  13. Claudia Astorino, from Organization Intersex International, USA Chapter (OII-USA) (USA chapter, global organization)
  14. Cynthia Rothschild (Independent Activist) (USA)
  15. Dalea Rundblad (Dalea Music) (New York)
  16. Denis LeBlanc (Canada)
  17. Denis LeBlanc (Editor, 76Crimes.com) (Global)
  18. Dr. Michael J. Adee (USA)
  19. Dr. Michael J. McNeal (USA)
  20. Elena P Hernáiz L (FRV) (Venezuela)
  21. Elizabeth Mills (Institute of Development Studies) (United Kingdom)
  22. Emma Nabissenke (Spain)
  23. Faisal Alam (USA)
  24. Fay E Hanrahan Russell (UK)
  25. Fran McKitty (United States)
  26. Francesca Emanuele (PROMSEX- Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos) (Perú)
  27. Ian Wojcik (USA)
  28. Ioseba Amatriain Losa (Spain)
  29. Israel Machado (United States)
  30. Jean François Régis(NINTERETSE) (Bujumbura/Burundi)
  31. Jeanne Flanigan (USA)
  32. Jessica Notwell (YWCA Global) (Canada)
  33. Joel Simpson (Guyana)
  34. Joyce Hunter, DSW (RIWW) (Unites States)
  35. Kate Tully (Women's Rights Advocate) (Australia)
  36. Krozan Kapali (Nepal)
  37. Kurt Holzberlein (U.S.A.)
  38. Lalaine P. Viado (Independent Activist / Women's Human Rights Consultant) (Philippines)
  39. Lauren Artiles (United States)
  40. Laurie Gayle (YWCA GB) (United Kingdom)
  41. Leah Karen Entenmann (US)
  42. Leigh Ann van der Merwe (S.H.E.) (South Africa)
  43. Lieu Anh Vu (Viet Nam)
  44. Lloyd Copper (Australia)
  45. Lucia Rayas (Mexico)
  46. Lynnea Urania Stuart (United States)
  47. Marcia Banasko (YWCA GB) (United Kingdom)
  48. Mary L Kelly (USA)
  49. Matthew E Dicken (USA)
  50. Maureen A. Sullivan (USA)
  51. May Sifuentes (Human Rights Advocate) (Mexico/USA)
  52. Michael Johnstone (Canada)
  53. Mirka Negroni (Puerto Rico)
  54. Mitch Burns (Australia)
  55. Nathalie Margi (Human Rights Consultant) (France/USA)
  56. NGO TJAT Adeline Gaelle (Elles) (Cameroon)
  57. Nicole Duffau Valdes (Lawyer) (Chile)
  58. Nive Sharat Chandran (YWCA of Aotearoa/New Zealand) (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
  59. Patricia Ackerman, Director of Women's Studies, City College of New York (USA)
  60. Pemakenya (Mombasa kenya)
  61. Roberta Sklar (US)
  62. Rosa Letzebuerg Asbl (LGBT) association Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg)
  63. Rosalind Petchesky (Sexuality Policy Watch) (USA)
  64. Roseline K. Toweh (YWCA -Liberia) (Liberia)
  65. Sagrario Monedero (Alianza por la Solidaridad) (Spain)
  66. Sara Beatriz García Gross (Feminist Activist) (El Salvador)
  67. Stefano Giani (The Netherlands)
  68. Sulique Waqa (Pacific)
  69. Sumie Ogasawara (YWCA of Japan) (Japan)
  70. Tané Tachyon (USA)
  71. Vanessa Brocato, JD (Human Rights Advocate) (USA)
  72. Zachary Leyton Rivera-Reed (United States of America)