UNITED NATIONS (TIP): Speaking at the High Level LGBT Core Group Event, the secretary general of the UN Ban ki-Moon pushed for equal rights for the community and urged government to end discrimination -something India has been struggling to do so.
Echoing the motto of the sustainable development goal ‘Leaving No One Behind’, Ban ki-Moon said this guiding vision could be reached only if everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender entity is reached out to. “In too many countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are among the poorest, most marginalized members of society,” he said. Activists would agree that India is one of these countries. “Studies show that gay and lesbian people suffer disproportionate discrimination and abuse. They are rejected by their families… kicked out of their homes … and pushed out of school. Too many of our LGBT brothers and sisters are jobless, homeless and struggling to survive,” he added.
The situation of transgender people is even worse overall, Ban ki-Moon said. “They have higher rates of homelessness, poverty and hunger. For individuals and their families, this is a personal tragedy. And for society, it is a shameful waste of human talent, ingenuity and economic potential,” he added.
While India did not mention anything about LGBT rights at the UN, the situation in the country is dire. Homosexual relationships are considered criminal even after the Delhi high court decriminalized. The Supreme Court overturned the order and made it a crime again for people to have consensual relationships with the same gender. India is, however, one of the very country that legally recognizes transgender as a separate gender identity. However, the social stigma attached is strong and they face discrimination at every level of life.
Urging governments to change their stance and be more proactive in protecting their rights, Ban ki-Moon said: “the human rights of LGBT people are abused, all of us are diminished. Every human life is precious – none is worth more than another”.
The president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe created a furore when exclaimed “Zimbabwe is not gay!” at the UN General Assembly on Monday. “We equally reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our norms, values, traditions and beliefs. We are not gays. Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification and double standards will not,” he said at the general assembly.