Press Release

IACHR Holds Regional Meeting on Political Participation of LGTBI Persons

December 4, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a regional meeting of independent experts on the political participation of lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual, and intersex persons (LGTBI) in the Americas. The meeting took place November 19-20, 2012, in Bogotá, Colombia.

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 meeting was organized by the IACHR, through its Unit on the Rights of LGTBI Persons, as part of the information-gathering process for a hemisphere-wide report on the human rights situation of LGTBI persons.

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 LGTBI 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 LGTBI 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 LGTBI persons. Finally, the experts emphasized the need to draw attention to and analyze how discrimination against LGTBI persons intersects with other historical situations of discrimination such as gender, race, ethnicity, poverty, childhood and adolescence, and disabilities, among other factors.

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

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 142/12