On June 30, 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a historic resolution creating a mandate for an International Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE) applauds this new UN mandate, which has the potential to bring more attention to gender identity issues and the challenges facing trans people. To realise the full potential of the resolution, trans activists from all around the world will have a key and critical role to play to ensure and demand that International Expert appointment positively and meaningfully impacts our communities. GATE calls on trans activists to:
1.Demand candidates for the position have a solid background on gender identity issues and an outstanding commitment to trans inclusion.
- Contribute to expanding the normative meaning of “gender identity” by introducing relevant language into the human rights system, such as “gender expression”, “bodily diversity”, “non-binary”, etc.)
- Expand the “gender identity” framework to include sexual and reproductive rights and racial, social, and economic justice, as well as culturally diverse demands and intersectional analyses.
- Encourage those States that supported the creation of the mandate to repeal regulations incompatible with human rights standards at the national level, including institutionalization, sterilization, divorce, criminalization, and pathologization.
- Ensure that other mandates continue to address gender identity issues from their specific thematic approaches (i.e., Health, Torture).
- Demand that the mandate addresses human rights violations against trans people at the regional and international level, including engaging with key international bodies (such as WHO) that impact on the rights of trans people.
- Request trans activists’ meaningful and diverse inclusion and participation in all activities and decision-making processes related to this mandate based on the value of “nothing about us without us”.
- Monitor and denounce any backlash associated with the work this mandate.
- Demand human rights violations based on gender identity be addressed and dismantled in all regions (including Global North/Western countries) and protest any attempt to restrict attention or singularize human rights violations based on gender identity issues as taking place in one region (i.e., Global South or Global East countries).
- Resist any attempt to use human rights violations based on gender identity issues or those otherwise affecting trans people as an excuse to threaten, attack, exploit, militarize, and/or invade any location; to stigmatize, discriminate against and/or criminalize any population; and to exercise any kind of violence in our names and on our behalf.
Mauro Cabral & Masen Davis, Co-Directors
Global Action for Trans Equality