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Recognizing LBT rights as Women's Rights » Women's Courage

Recognizing LBT rights as Women's Rights

March 7th, 2013 by streeter Leave a reply »

On February 18, 2013, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) gathered at the United Nation in Geneva with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). They came to discuss changes to the General Recommendation on women’s access to justice. Often times, women are discriminated against and treated poorly in developing countries, and CEDAW works to intervene and make changes that better these women’s lives. However, the IGLHRC, represented by Grace Poore, met to discuss the needs of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women in relation to women as a whole. They argued that as women, LBT peoples face the same barriers, but almost to an extreme since they face additional pressures due to sexual orientation or gender identity. Therefore, they requested that CEDAW include provisions in the upcoming General Recommendation that point out obstacles that make it difficult for women to access justice, specifically based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Their statement was endorsed by 43 women’s rights, human rights and LBT groups around the world.

Not only did the IGLHRC provide an oral statement to the above problem, but over 50 NGOs sent in written papers to the CEDAW Committee. Some international NGOs discussed other obstacles LBT women face in developing countries. The Center for Reproductive Rights argued that laws surrounding reproductive healthcare should expand to include LBT women. Because of gender stereotypes, these women are often discriminated against and do not receive the reproductive health needs they deserve. Wilder Tayler, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists argued a different point, that of anti-sodomy laws. In developing countries in which homosexual sex is criminalized, LBT women are incapable of filing reports or going to Court to claim their rights due to fear of discrimination, violence, or stigma.

CEDAW, established in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is described as an international bill of rights for women. It outlines what is constituted as discrimination against women, setting up an agenda for action to introduce gender equality. Countries that accept the Convention are legally bound to put these provisions into practice, providing national reports at least every four years to demonstrate that they have been complying with the treaty expectations. Therefore, by having IGLHRC intervene by addresses the flaws within CEDAW, these potential changes in international LBT rights, induced by the newly improved CEDAW, can have widespread beneficial effects.

Watch this video to hear about some of the problems for CEDAW to address, as requested by Grace Poore and the IGLHRC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3NKuytC9hp8






1 comment

  1. Linh says:

    Even as such an important issue, it does not receive nearly as much attention as it needs. Most definitely lesbian women in almost every culture experience more oppression and injustice than heterosexual women, but the fact that this group is so specific and small works against the cause. There just hasn’t been enough momentum to really push forward lesbian rights. This post was a bit heartening because it is proof that there is still some progress being made, no matter how small. Still, just because a country is legally bound to reduce identity discrimination, doesn’t mean it will be a reality. True change would require new norm setting that favors tolerance and acceptance in a way that empowers lesbian women. But, changing policy is definitely a good start. Great post!

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