International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia

Statement on the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia by UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous


Together always: united in diversity

We recognize today as the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia, and mark the theme for this year: “Together always: united in diversity”. This is a day to celebrate the diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) across humanity. It is also a day for a reckoning with the related violence, discrimination and stigmatization that still cause profound, preventable suffering among these communities. Such violations harm us all as we seek to accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and a world united under a common agenda of fully lived human rights.

We seek a world where people with diverse SOGIESC can form their identities and live freely in love, respect, and safety. We celebrate the 20 countries in which legal gender recognition based on self-determination is a reality, as well as the 58 countries where laws protect people from hate crimes on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

However, criminalizing laws remain a reality in one-third of all countries and across the world. LGBTIQ+* people often face a lived reality of extreme discrimination, from access to health, education and social services, to safe housing, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, to safe spaces and opportunities for political participation and community building, and safe pathways out of humanitarian and conflict/post-conflict contexts, especially for those fleeing persecution and forcibly displaced.  While online spaces are crucial for LGBTIQ+ people to access information, organize and build communities, violence in digital contexts is an intensifying issue, and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are often at greater risk.

We embrace the long-standing, rich diversity of gender identities and expressions across cultures and call for collective action, avoiding fragmentation, in our quest for gender equality and the equal enjoyment of human rights for all.

UN Women is proud to be part of the forthcoming UN system-wide strategy and guidance on protection from violence and discrimination based on SOGIESC. We stand ready to support action towards LGBTIQ+ equality from within the UN system. Our work with the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions on Gender-based Violence and on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights aims to mobilize a violence-free world for people of all genders and to ensure that they, in all their diversity, are empowered to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights and make autonomous decisions about their bodies free from coercion, violence, and discrimination.

We at UN Women stand together, united in diversity with LGBTIQ+ people across the world.  Our communities are stronger, the impacts of our work are more meaningful, and our collective progress greater, when we support and take care of one another.

* This is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people, and people who use other terms or none to describe their sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). UN Women also uses the term ‘people with diverse SOGIESC’ where appropriate in global contexts, while respecting their distinctions. We note that neither term is universally applicable nor reflects the full diversity of sexual and gender formations, practices and identities that exist, that terms and their usage are constantly evolving, and that SOGIESC applies to all people. In practice, various culturally, linguistically and context-specific terms may be used, where appropriate.