Call For Visiblity of LBTIs On International Women’s Day

Jessica Stern

The human rights organisation, OutRight International has pointed out the growing oppression, exclusion and violence against lesbian and bisexual women, and trans and intersex people.


OutRight’s International human rights documentation reports show that in many countries LBTI people continue to face situations of sexual abuse and harassment and abuse by family members who refuse to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity. This can often lead to forced marriages, and domestic violence by spouses and other family members alike.

“Because of social stigmatisation and the invisibilization, domestic and family violence often goes unreported and is severely under researched,” according to Executive Director of OutRight, Jessica Stern (pictured above). “Punitive laws, such as those that exclude marital rape from being considered a crime, laws that criminalise same-sex relations and lack of gender identity recognition laws, exacerbate the situation and add to impunity for individuals perpetrating violence against this community.”

In February, OutRight conducted a training with 34 government officials in Quezon City, Philippines on how to address domestic violence and family violence against LBT women.

After attending OutRight’s training, a local gender and development officer contacted OutRight’s Philippines-based trainer to tell her that she was assisting a 13-year old trans girl who had been beaten by her father as he did not accept that she is transgender.

According to Stern: “The officer met the trans girl in the street with bruises and welts all over her body. The officer said that thanks to the training, she felt equipped to deal with the situation, in a way that she wouldn’t have before.”

The officer has since issued a district protection order against the father and the girl is now living with her grandparents who are accepting of her gender identity.

“More often than not stories of abuse, humiliation, exclusion, and violence of trans and intersex people and lesbian and bisexual women do not end well,” says Stern. “When we have leaders who incite fear instead of inclusion, who choose discrimination, racism, and xenophobia instead of acceptance and equality, who block funding for sexual reproductive health services to women in need, who are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim, and who threaten the very fabric of international law and state relations, we must stand up for our rights and for human rights for all.”

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