In the preparation and drafting of the regional report on the human rights of LGBTI persons, the Unit has conducted a series of meeting of independent experts on different issues related to the rights of these persons.

Experts Meeting on Education, Culture, and LGBTI Persons
IACHR Headquarters, September 12-13, 2013

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More than 15 experts of 12 nationalities attended the meeting of Experts on Education, Culture and LGBTI Persons, organized by the IACHR LGBTI Unit and co-sponsored by UNAIDS. The meeting was conducted by the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, who underscored the role of education as a strategic tool that makes it possible to combat and eliminate prejudice, stereotypes, and false conceptions with regard to people with diverse sexual orientations or gender identities. She also stressed the need to move towards full recognition of the rights of LGBTI persons, emphasizing the need to depathologize diverse forms of sexuality and identity. For its part, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, highlighted the work done by the LGBTI Unit since its installation on February 2012.

The meeting included discussion and debate on issues such as education in human rights and gender; bullying at school based on real or perceived sexual orientation or on gender identity or gender expression; the right to comprehensive sex education; the access to education for trans persons, strategies for raising awareness of key players in the field of education; and the influence of the media, marketing techniques, religious groups, and cultural patterns of discrimination, segregation, and prejudice against LGBTI persons. Participants also analyzed the relation between discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons and heteronormativity, gender binarism and misogyny. Furthermore, the situation of violence against children and adolescents in the educational setting, its causes and consequences, was widely debated.

Meeting of Experts on Political Participation
(Bogotá, Colombia, November 19-20, 2012)

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More than 20 experts, nationals of a dozen countries, attended the meeting. More than half were openly lesbian, gay, or transgender individuals who have been elected or appointed to posts in the various branches of government of several countries in the region. The participants attended in their personal capacity.

The participants presented technical information on the main challenges and obstacles, as well as steps forward and best practices, having to do with the rights of LGBTI persons to take part in the management of public affairs. In particular, the meeting explored connections between discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and the under-representation or poor representation of LGBTI persons in publicly elected positions in the region. Participants talked about exclusion and discrimination against trans persons in the various forms of political participation, in terms of their right both to elect and to be elected. They also discussed the importance of establishing alliances with political parties and the need to generate sustainable public policies regarding the rights of LGBTI persons. Finally, the experts emphasized the need to draw attention to and analyze how discrimination against LGBTI persons intersects with other historical situations of discrimination such as gender, race, ethnicity, poverty, childhood and adolescence, and disabilities, among other factors.

While in Colombia, on November 19, 2012, a panel discussion was held on "Experiences of Political Participation of LGBTI Persons in Latin America." Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil gave opening remarks, underscoring the importance of the participation of LGBTI persons in countries' public and political life in order to build a more pluralistic, inclusive, and just society.

Meeting of Experts on Employment
Barbados, October 11-12, 2012

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This meeting was presided by Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, in charge of the Unit created in November 2012, on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Fifteen experts from twelve countries assisted to the meeting, and presented information and opinions on the situation of the right to work of LGBTI persons in the Americas. Also, they informed the IACHR of positive experiences on work inclusion, challenges in employment policies, discrimination in the workplace, and specific situations of informal employment and sex work o persons in situation of prostitution. The dialogue also involved the legislative challenges to protect and promote employment of LGBTI persons. The agenda included debates on the obstacles and opportunities that LGBTI persons face when promoting their rights.

In addition, the meeting allowed exploring alternatives for the participation of civil society in the inter-American system of human rights, through its petition and case system, thematic hearings, requests for precautionary measures and visits, among other mechanisms.

While in Barbados, on October 11, 2012, the IACHR and the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, jointly organized a conference entitled Stigma and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine delivered the keynote address, and Jefferson Cumberbatch, Deputy Dean for Academic and Student Affairs gave opening remarks. The IACHR wishes to thank the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, under the direction of Dean David S. Berry, for the great support in the realization of this event.

Meeting of Experts on Violence and Impunity
Washington D.C., February 24-25, 2012

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This meeting presided over by Commissioner Tracy Robinson, took place on February 24-25, 2012 and was possible thanks to support of UNAIDS. More than 20 experts from across the Americas region, provided information with respect to violence against persons based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, as well as the related impunity.

Experts shared their expertise and information on issues of violence against LGBTI persons in the Americas, the obstacles and challenges to overcome it and to eradicate impunity on these crimes, and several best practices in this area. They also discussed the criminalization of relations between persons of the same sex, laws and discriminatory practices and other factors that contribute to the violence against LGBTI persons, among other topics. The role of the police and other Government agencies in charge of citizen security in the protection of this population was also studied.

The meeting served as a forum to explore alternatives for the participation of civil society in the inter-American system of human rights, through the system of petitions and cases, the hearings, the requests for precautionary measures and the visits to countries, among other mechanisms.

Meeting of Experts on Health
Washington D.C., June 16-17, 2011

This meeting was co-organized with UNAIDS and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and led by the IACHR’s then-Chair, Commissioner Dinah Shelton. At this meeting, more than 15 experts presented valuable and extensive information regarding the obstacles and challenges faced by lesbians, gays, and trans, bisexual, and intersex persons in accessing health services and in exercising their right to the highest attainable standard of health, according to international standards on availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality.