UN Women Executive Director Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia


Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

On the 17th of May 1990, the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Twenty four years later, we mark that landmark decision and celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

In every region of the world, progress towards equality and freedom for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people has been made. However, no country has yet eliminated homophobia and transphobia. At least 78 countries continue to have laws in effect that are used to criminalize consensual relationships between adults of the same sex.  And recently we have seen the passage of laws in several countries which target LGBTI people for discrimination, vilification, and punishment.

On behalf of UN Women, let me state clearly that LGBTI rights are human rights.

There can be no place in our world for the criminalization of sexual orientation and consensual sexual behaviour of individuals.

The oppression of LGBTI people is closely related to the discrimination that women face in their daily lives. The struggle for gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment will not be complete until LGBTI people are also free.

UN Women is proud to take up the call from the UN Secretary-General, who has challenged us to fight for a world that is truly free and equal. We believe that equality begins at home.

An equal, peaceful and sustainable world cannot be realised without full and equal rights for LGBTI people.

UN Women will continue to work for an end to discrimination, violence and prejudice, and for all people to be able to live their lives with dignity and respect.