UN Commission Rejects LGBT Agenda
NEW YORK, February 18 (C-Fam) The UN Commission for Social Development rejected new language on LGBT issues, refuting claims that LGBT issues are on their way to being mainstreamed in UN policy.
The final agreement of the commission, adopted on Wednesday, did not include any new LGBT related terms, even though early drafts of the agreement included a reference to “LGBTI persons.”
Opposition to the term was so strong that Argentina, who led the negotiations and is ordinarily very aggressive in promoting LGBT issues, removed the controversial terms from the draft resolution of the commission early on in the negotiating process.
After the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on elections and democracy that includes “sexual orientation and gender identity” last December, it was anticipated that other UN agreements on social policy would include the controversial term.
A white paper released last week by OutRight Action International, the leading LGBT group at the United Nations, said the LGBT issue had gained new “legitimacy” following the General Assembly’s resolution on elections. But there was too much opposition to adding “LGBTI persons” during negotiations in recent weeks to say the issue is now legitimate.
The unanimous addition of LGBT language in a General Assembly resolution last year may have even acted as extra motivation to oppose the addition of LGBT terms in new resolutions. When delegations debated adding “LGBTI persons” in the resolution of the Commission for Social Development in recent weeks, more delegations spoke out against it than at any point in recent years, including the entire African Group.
The continuing opposition to LGBT advances in UN policy means that delegations who support LGBT issues have to content themselves with ambiguous terms and euphemisms to promote LGBT issues in the UN bureaucracy. The resolution of the Commission for Social Development included the terms “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” and “women in diverse situations and conditions”, which the European Union and the United States explicitly tie to LGBT issues and are defined ambiguously by UN agencies.
UN agencies and the UN secretariat use such terms to streamline controversial LGBT policies that are not internationally agreed into UN programming. For example, a checklist of the UN human rights office systematically adds individuals who identify as LGBT as “minorities” in UN programming under the heading “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” and Guidelines from the World Health Organization define the term “women in all their diversity” as “women who are heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex; women who use or have used drugs; women who are or have been involved in sex work…” Traditional delegations lodged reservations on the terms at the commission.
While the resolution of the UN commission did not make any explicit progress for supporters of LGBT policies, it also did not promote family policies. The delegation of the Holy See lamented this fact in official statements at the end of the commission on Wednesday.
“The Holy See finds it regrettable that it was not possible to reaffirm that the family as the basic unit of society plays a key role in social development and as such should be strengthened, with attention to the rights, capabilities and responsibilities of its members and it is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support,” said Monsignor Fredrik Hansen of the Holy See delegation after the resolution was adopted.