UN expert 'extremely concerned' over protection of LGBTQ+ rights in the US

Commenting on the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the US, the UN expert said that "equality is not within reach".

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, a UN expert speaking about the US and LGBTQ+ rights at a press conference.
Image: Via Twitter - @therecount

During a press conference on August 30, UN expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz said he was “extremely concerned” about the recent efforts of many US states to weaken LGBTQ+ right. Madrigal-Borloz then urged the federal government to take more effective measures to prevent the decline of American queer citizens’ rights.

Appointed in 2017, Victor Madrigal-Borloz is the UN independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity who recently toured several US cities, including Washington DC and Birmingham, Alabama; Miami, Florida; and San Diego, California, in a 10-day visit. While there, the UN expert met with state officials, members of civil society and others with the purpose of assessing the “best practices” as well as any “gaps” in protecting LGBTQ+ rights in each state.

During a press conference, he presented his conclusions saying: “I am deeply alarmed by a widespread, profoundly negative riptide created by deliberate actions to roll back the human rights of LGBT people at state level.” He spoke of the discriminatory measures that many US states are enacting and how such measures will contribute to recreating the stigma against LGBTQ+ people.

“A veritable plague of so-called anti-LGBT bills is sweeping across the country: in 2021, 268 anti-equality bills were introduced in state legislatures; it is expected that the number will be higher in 2022,” Madrigal-Borloz wrote in a document presented at the press conference.

One example he cited is the recent decision by the Florida Board of Medicine to impose restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors. In addition to this decision, Florida presents a worrying case since its controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was passed, prohibiting the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in schools.

Recently, a group of Florida teens and their families, aided by LGBTQ+ organisations, challenged the law arguing that it violates their constitutional rights and requested a preliminary injunction. It represents a new step in the fight against this law that the LGBTQ+ community in Florida has been carrying out since it came into effect earlier in July.

The UN expert also spoke about the federal efforts made to protect LGBTQ+ rights, including President Joe Biden’s executive order that aimed at ensuring “equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” While he praised such efforts, Madrigal-Borloz also recognised how federal protections “remain volatile and subject to change by executive or judicial action.”

Moreover, he warned about what he believes is a “trend to weaponize state agencies” and to create a strategy to bypass Biden’s executive order. He concluded by writing that “equality is not within reach and often not even within sight, for all persons impacted by violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

For the whole UN press conference, visit their website here.

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