Snapshot of the situation of the rights of LGBTI persons in the region
🇦🇷 Argentina: At the UN Human Right’s Council’s 52nd Session Argentina on behalf of a cross-regional group of 28 states called on states to recognize gender identify based on self-identification.
🇨🇦 Canada: Canada has expunged historic indecency and anti-abortion laws targeting women and the LGBTQ community.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica: After 20 years of sentimental union and almost seven years of legal battles, a man managed to rescue the pension left by his former sentimental partner.
🇨🇺 Cuba: At least 46 same-sex marriages have taken place since the new Family Code came into force in September of last year.
🇬🇾 Guyana: The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) plans to engage Minister of Education, emphasised the importance of addressing hate crimes and the bullying of LGBTI persons in schools.
🇺🇸 United States: On March 1, 2023, the Michigan Senate passed a law banning anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination throughout the state. On March 8, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order to protect life-saving healthcare for transgender people in the state.
🇲🇽 Mexico: In the state of Guanajuato, the first electoral credential was issued for a person from the city of León who identifies as Non-Binary.
🇻🇪 Venezuela: IACHR welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Chamber of the High Court of Justice declaring the nullity of art. 565 of the Military Organic Code, which criminalized consensual same-sex relations within the armed forces.
Stigmatizing narratives against
LGBTI people continue
The IACHR continues to warn States about narratives that incite hatred, legitimize discrimination, or even incite violence based on prejudice against LGBTI persons, including LGBTI human rights defenders and artists. Likewise, the IACHR has noted stigmatizing discourses happening in universities in the region, often addressed to adolescents and young adults. The IACHR recalls that States must adopt preventive and educational measures to address and combat hate speech against LGBTI persons. When States do not take these measures, they send a message to society that violence against LGBTI people is condoned and tolerated, thus contributing to an environment of hostility and prejudice.
Violence against trans sex workers
and LGBTI people
The IACHR is deeply concerned about violence and murders against trans sex workers and LGBTI People between January and March 2023. The IACHR calls on States to effectively protect the lives of sex workers. Trans women, in particular, are vulnerable to being victims of extreme violence including murder. Crimes against sex workers often go unpunished, States must take measures to prevent violence against sex workers. States should also create gender awareness among all state officials, including police forces, to build trust in their interactions with state representatives. These awareness-raising measures should also be included in the training programs for state personnel in charge of medical and social care, so that women who perform sex work can access their economic and social rights, as well as report acts of violence and situations of exploitation. labor, slavery or human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Regressive Measures in relation to trans rights
The IACHR notes that in recent times there exists a rise of regressive legal measures, aimed at restricting and curtailing the Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights of trans persons in the Americas and the Caribbean, particularly the right to health for trans youth. These measures aim, amongst other things, to ban gender-affirming health care, remove comprehensive sexual education from schools, restrict trans persons from competing in sports, and deny access to bathrooms and other facilities that align with their self-perceived gender identity.
The IACHR encourages states to ensure that legal documents like birth certificates and other identity documents reflect the gender identity of trans persons. Moreover, States should create effective public policies and legislation to protect the rights of trans and gender-diverse persons in areas such as employment, health, education, and housing.
Regressive Measures in relation to family recognition
The IACHR is deeply concerned about the non-recognition of family rights such as marriage, of same-sex couples in judicial decisions that have been determined across different member states in the Americas and the Caribbean. These decisions have a negative impact on the principles of equality and non-discrimination. States must ensure the protection of all the rights guaranteed to families without discrimination.
The IACHR encourages all States in the region that still do not allow same-sex marriage to reform and harmonize their internal legislation to ensure that same-sex couples are guaranteed the same rights, freedoms, responsibilities, and opportunities that are guaranteed to opposite-sex couples in strict adherence to the principle of equality and nondiscrimination.
29 Mar: Commissioner Clarke’s statement "Contributions of Member States to counter intolerance and discrimination in the Region" Special Meeting of the Permanent Council convened at the request of the Permanent Mission of Mexico.
31 Mar: Commissioner Clarke’s statement commemorating trans visibility day and the launch of an attention protocol for LGBTI victims of crimes by the Human Rights Commission of the State of Jalisco, Mexico.
The Office of the Rapporteur participated in several meetings with civil society organizations and human rights defenders. If you would like to request a meeting or training session with us, send an e-mail to: CIDHDenuncias@oas.org
The information presented in this newsletter corresponds to the period from January 1 to March 31, 2023.
The Rapporteurship will continue to monitor the human rights situation of LGBTI persons in the region.