Helen Clark: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, 17 May 2015

May 15, 2015

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia provides us each year with an opportunity to focus on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, which is important for all of us working on human development. This year we are focusing on LGBTI Youth.

In every country in the world, LGBTI people experience discrimination in the form of rejection, harassment, physical violence, and, in the worst cases, death.

Last year, a UNDP report on Transgender Health and Human Rights found that transgender people are being murdered at alarming rates, and also have some of the highest HIV infection rates for any population group. These statistics are startling.

Every two days a person is killed somewhere in the world for expressing gender non-conformity, including many transgender youth.

19 per cent of all transgender women globally are living with HIV, and the chances of them acquiring HIV is 49 times higher than all adults of reproductive age.

We can and we must do better.

As we look forward to the creation of a new set of development goals this year, it is important to reiterate that human beings will not achieve development progress if segments of our populations are treated as less than equal or are denied their human rights. This is as true for women facing laws denying them equal status as it is for those who are denied their rights because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is particularly true for the young members of our communities, including LGBTI youth, who will become the torchbearers for global development in the decades to come.

UNDP is committed to inclusive human development, and continues in its efforts to advance the human rights of LGBTI people globally. We work on the ground in over 170 countries with governments, youth organizations, civil society, human rights defenders, to advance the rights of all marginalized and excluded individuals, including LGBT people.

Looking ahead, UNDP will continue to support greater attention to LGBTI rights as the international community prepares new sustainable development goals.

LGBTI people, like all human beings, have the right to live their lives free from fear, violence, discrimination, persecution, and inequality. Sustainable development requires full participation by everyone.

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