U.S. Diplomats Ramp-Up LGBT Advocacy at UN Negotiation

By | March 17, 2022

NEW YORK, March 18 (C-Fam) The U.S. government and the European Union are pressing UN Member States to add homosexuality and transgenderism in a draft UN agreement about the impact of climate change on women.

Delegates from the United States and Europe have added multiple references to “sexual orientation and gender identity” and “LGBTQI+ persons” to the draft agreement of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a UN body that crafts gender policies that are incorporated in the work of the entire UN system.

According to progressive delegations that promote LGBT issues, it is not enough to focus on the impact of climate change and other disasters on women alone. They want to make sure that, under the rubric of “gender”, UN agencies also have a mandate to design LGBT-specific international policies and programs.

“Persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) are at increased risk of gender-based violence and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination when attempting to access protection and assistance in the aftermath of disasters,” according to a statement of the U.S. Government, the European Union, and the thirty-seven other governments that form part of LGBT Core Group, a negotiating bloc at the United Nations.

The LGBT Core Group called for a global framework “for monitoring and reporting for gender-responsive climate change policies and programs and disaster risk reduction” at the opening of the annual Commission on the Status of Women on Monday.

The agreed conclusions of the commission, which meets every year in March, is focused this year on “gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.”

Linking gender to climate change policies would help feminist and LGBT groups access up to $100 billion in annual global climate financing, according to reports from Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD).

Proposals for including LGBT-related language in the commission’s draft agreement, called “agreed conclusions,” are not limited to explicit references to “sexual orientation and gender identity” and “LGBTQI+ persons.” These explicit terms are frequently rejected by UN member states. Proposals from progressive delegations include ambiguous terms like “multiple and intersecting” discrimination and language about “diversity,” which are more likely to be accepted in the agreement of the commission.

These obscure terms, added by the U.S. Government, European Union, and their allies, to several dozen paragraphs of the agreement, are already used by UN agencies to add LGBT-specific policies and programs to implement existing UN agreements.

Explicit LGBT language has repeatedly been rejected by UN member states at past UN commission, but recent developments raise the possibility that the U.S. Government and the European Union may try to force an agreement with explicit recognition of “sexual orientation and gender identity” and “LGBTQI+ persons” in the agreed conclusions, expected to be finalized and adopted next week.

In December the General Assembly adopted a resolution that included “sexual orientation and gender identity” unanimously for the first time.

A tense and nail-biting finish for the commission is all the more likely since the chairman of the commission is from South Africa and the lead negotiator for the agreed conclusions is from Germany, and both countries are part of the LGBT Core Group.