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OHCHR and the Human Rights of LGBTI People

“Many nations have made important progress in upholding the LGBTI rights… But these strong global trends have still left many people behind…We need to come together, to put an end to physical assaults; arbitrary arrests; bullying; inadequate legal gender recognition; and unnecessary surgeries on intersex children, everywhere.”

Michelle Bachelet
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
28 September 2019

About LGBTI people and human rights

What does the acronym LGBTI mean?

LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. It is commonly used to refer to people who are attracted to people of the same gender, people with gender identities that differ from the sex assigned to them at birth, people with nonbinary identities and people whose sex characteristics do not fit typical definitions of female or male. While this acronym has universal recognition, different people in different contexts identify with other terms including hijra, meti, lala, skesana, motsoalle, mithli, kuchu, kawein, travesty, muxé, fa’afafine, fakaleiti, hamjensgara and Two-Spirit.

What human rights violations do LGBTI people face?

LGBTI people are exposed to various types of discrimination, including being:

  • Discriminated against in education, employment, health care
  • Mistreated and disowned by their own families
  • Targeted for physical attacks and extreme violence—beaten, sexually assaulted, tortured and killed

More on LGBTI persons, discriminations they face, and obligations of States to protect and promote their human rights

OHCHR’s work on LGBTI rights

OHCHR is committed to working with States, National Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society worldwide to help repeal laws criminalizing LGBTI persons. OHCHR also works to protect people from violence and discrimination on grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

See the full list of activities of our office

Latest Reports and Publications

High Commissioner's report to the Human Rights Council on the intersection of race and gender discrimination in sport A/HRC/44/26

Guidance on COVID-19 and the Human Rights of LGBTI People
PDF: English

Born Free and Equal, Revised Edition (November 2019)
PDF: English

Intersex Background Note (October 2019)
PDF: English

Living Free And Equal (2016)
PDF: English | Español

High Commissioner's report to the Human Rights Council on discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity (2015)

High Commissioner's report to the Human Rights Council on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (2011) - A/HRC/19/41

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