Media Center

Press Release

Statement from the OAS General Secretariat and the LGBTTTI & Sex Workers Coalition on the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia

  May 17, 2023

On this International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia, we commemorate the decision made in 1990 by the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate homosexuality from the WHO International Classification of Diseases.

Recalling that date, the OAS General Secretariat, and the LGBTTTI & SW Coalition highlight the efforts made over the past year to reduce discrimination against LGBTQIA+ persons in the Americas. Among the advances we highlight that:

• Same-sex sexual relations have been decriminalized in some countries of the hemisphere.

• An increasing number of countries have harmonized their legislation with the standards issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in its advisory opinion OC-24/17 of November 24, 2017.

• Four countries in the region have implemented various forms of legal recognition for same-sex couples.

• In two countries the regulation of data change procedure for the legal recognition of self-perceived gender identity has been ordered. Three states of a federal country have passed gender identity laws that allow recognition of self-perceived gender identity.

• The recognition of non-binary gender identities has advanced in two countries, and one of them has removed the military service ban for intersex persons.

• The ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men was effectively removed from one country's regulations.

• A pilot program was established in one country for forensic doctors to receive cultural competency training on how to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity in all cases of violent deaths.

• One parliament in the region approved a Global Respect Law that prevents those who have committed human rights abuses against LGBTQ persons abroad from obtaining a visa to enter the country.

We emphasize that during the OAS General Assembly in 2022, within chapter XIX "Human rights and prevention of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons" of the Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the member states were encouraged “to adopt relevant legislative, administrative and judicial measures to prohibit the so-called ‘conversion therapies’ and any practice or intervention whose purpose is to modify or suppress the sexual orientation, identity and/or gender expression, or the sexual characteristics of a person."

In this regard, in one of the countries of the region the prohibition of this type of therapy had already gone into effect in January 2022, and in November 2022 another country enacted a Mental Health Law establishing that "In no case shall a diagnosis in the field of mental health be made on the exclusive basis of […] Sexual identity or preference.”

Likewise, conversion therapies were prohibited by laws passed in six states of a federal country, which adds to another seven states that had already done so in previous years.
The OAS General Secretariat and the LGBTTTI & SW Coalition, on this International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia, and Transphobia, celebrate these measures and urge Member States to continue to advance in the adoption of legislation and public policies to eradicate violence and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ persons in the region and guarantee their rights.

Reference: E-021/23