Press Release

The IACHR calls on the States of the Region to apply the gender approach as a tool to combat structural discrimination against women and LGBTI persons

July 29, 2021

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Washington, D.C.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls onthe states of the region to apply the gender perspective in all public policies, administrative decisions, judicial resolutions and regulatory frameworks to move towards the full validity of the human rights of women and LGBTI persons, recognizing that this perspective is an indispensable tool to combat the historical and structural inequality that affects them.

The Commission understands that the gender perspective is a method of analysis of reality that makes it possible to make visible the differentiated social valuation of people by virtue of the gender assigned or assumed, and evidences the unequal power relations originated in these differences. In this regard, the IACHR has repeatedly stated that the gender perspective is a key tool to combat discrimination and violence against women and LGBTI persons, since it seeks to make visible the position of inequality and structural subordination of women because of their gender; eradicate the false premise of the inferiority of women to men; and make visible and address stereotypes and prejudices that contribute to discrimination based on sexual orientations, gender identities, and diverse sexual characteristics; the above, in the context of the hetero-cis-patriarchal system prevailing in the region.

However, the Commission notes with concern the proliferation of legal and administrative initiatives in the region that result in the limitation of the human rights of people in structural situations of gender-based vulnerability, such as women, including women survivors of violence, indigenous women, trans women, and LGBTI persons. Such initiatives are often motivated by a misconception of the concept of gender perspective, which is disparagingly described as an 'ideology'. Along these lines, the IACHR notes that the distorted use of the concept of gender is used to justify regressive measures that seek to limit the rights of women and LGBTI persons of all ages, including legislative and judicial executive measures.

In this regard, the Commission has received information on initiatives that prohibit comprehensive sex education and the dissemination and use of educational materials with a genderperspective, in addition to other measures that seriously limit the sexual and reproductive rights of women and pregnant persons of all ages, as well as the gender identity of trans, non-binary and gender diverse persons. The IACHR has also learned of legislative initiatives that, by incorporating the gender perspective, are rejected because they consider that such a perspective would have supposed negative impacts on the traditional roles of women in the family, as well as on traditional conceptions of the family and marriage between men and women.

For example, the IACHR has received information on the upsurge of hostile and discriminatory positions, crystallized in the mobilizations and marches in favor of the prohibition of the use of educational materials with a gender and diversity perspective. This encourages the perpetuation of stigmas and stereotypes against women and LGBTI people and contributes to creating obstacles to the guarantee of equality and non-discrimination.

In this regard, the Commission urges the States of the region to prevent the influence of trends that seek to limit the rights of women and LGBTI persons, such as the worrying use of the so-called "gender ideology" in disqualifying reference to the gender perspective and calls on States to refrain from adopting measures that have a negative or regressive impact on the respect and guarantee of their fundamental rights,as well as to implement policies and programs to promote the acceptance and social inclusion of LGBTI persons. In particular, the IACHR recommends adopting specific measures to counteract prejudices, customs, and any other type of practices that are based on the premise of the inferiority of women and LGBTI persons.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate arises from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance of human rights in the region and to act as a consultative body of the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 198/21

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