US makes progress on LGBT rights but lacks equality

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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 unfortunately for LGBT communities, “equality is yet out of reach and in many cases not in sight”, sexual orientation and gender identity The independent UN expert on the matter said Tuesday.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz said at a UN press conference after his 10-day visit to the United States that he applauded President Joe Biden for his “very strong” executive actions during his first days in office to eradicate discrimination and violence against the LGBT community. He said he was “extremely concerned” by a series of concerted actions at the state and local level to “attack and take back the rights of LGBT people based on prejudice and stigma.”

Madrigal-Borloz said the LGBT community suffers from access to health, employment, education and housing.

For example, among young adults aged 18 to 25, LGBT people are 2.2 times more at risk of homelessness, 23% of LGBT non-white adults have no health insurance, and 43% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual participants in a recent study had at least one He said he had been subjected to an act of discrimination or harassment.

Madrigal-Borloz, a Costa Rican lawyer and human rights defender, also expressed serious concern about the disproportionate impact of violence on 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; this is significantly out of proportion to the LGBT population in the US, which he says is generally estimated at between 5% and 8%. He also cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that reported that bisexual women experienced higher rates of intimate partner violence than other populations, 46% were raped, and 74.9% were victims of sexual violence other than rape. “extremely worrying.”

Madrigal-Borloz, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council headquartered in Geneva, completed his visits to Washington, Birmingham, Alabama, Miami and San Diego upon the invitation of the US government. She said she met with over 70 federal, state and local representatives, more than 100 civil society representatives, and people with “life experience” in the LGBT community.

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

“The result of my visit at this preliminary stage is that significant efforts have been made by the current administration to eradicate systems of social exclusion,” Madrigal-Borloz said. Said. But there is also a “significant risk of getting LGBT people caught in what I have described as a local surge created by all these actions.”

He said NGOs and human rights defenders have found at least 280 existing legislative initiatives to undermine LGBT rights at the local level, creating a horribly polarizing narrative that raises the already high and alarming risks of violence and discrimination. ”

He cited, as an example, the law in Madrigal-Borloz, Alabama, which criminalizes providing gender-affirming medical treatment to transgender youth, and Florida’s law, dubbed “don’t say gay,” that prohibits teachers from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity. third grade. She also touched upon comprehensive sexual and gender education and limitations on participation in sports for transgender people.

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

Madrigal-Borloz, who is also a researcher in the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, said that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. She also said Wade and a woman’s decision to overturn a woman’s right to abortion was a “destructive act” for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. This is because “those who suffer disproportionately from unintended teen pregnancies are actually members of these communities,” she said.

“They also statistically require more abortions,” he said, adding that “LGBT people in general benefit greatly from the sexual and reproductive health services provided by abortion providers in different states, and closing these centers will disproportionately affect them.”

Madrigal-Borloz, Roe vs. Following the Wade decision, suggestions that other precedents could be overturned could have a huge impact on the LGBT community, especially if same-sex marriage is illegal and homosexuality becomes a crime, as it is now in more than 65 countries. countries.

He also noted early statistics showing that 98% of cases of monkeypox were in men who have had sex with men, saying that “it worries me greatly because it risks advancing and reducing stigma and discrimination against this population.”

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