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Sexual orientation and gender identity

Podcast: Speaking out on equality for all

28 June 2024

Three people are depicted against a purple background

For Wannapong “Nhuum” Yodmuang, transgender rights are human rights.

“Trans rights are embedded in human rights…and are basically human rights,” said Yodmuang, from the Asia Pacific Transgender Network. “We ask for to be ourselves. We ask to express who we are. We ask to have the same rights of healthcare, education, work, to live with dignity. We are not asking for anything extra.”

The right to be recognized before the law is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At its most basic, it is the right to be seen and interacted with in dignity under the law. As PRIDE celebrations take place across the globe, the UN Human Rights Podcast takes a closer look at advocating, protecting and monitoring the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and the work of activists to improve opportunities for transgender people.

“I would say also that the whole point of human rights is to protect people who you disapprove of, in fact,” said Graeme Reid, UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). “That's the point, is that everybody is entitled to the same human rights as anybody else, regardless of what you think.”

Indeed, the notion of rights regardless is the premise of Article 1 of the UDHR, that all are born free and equal in dignity and rights. It’s this fight for the right for recognition of self-identity without jumping through elaborate hoops that fuels transgender rights defender Daniel Benitez Posada’s activism. He called the right to self-identify and have gender recognition a doorway to accessing other human rights.

“All of these things are completely related to the ability to identify ourselves in gender markets,” said Posada, who works with Fundación Grupo de Accion y Apoyo a Personas Trans in Colombia. “These are human rights. I want to emphasize the word human. We are human. We are not debating whether we come from a different planet. We are not debating whether or not we exist. We exist. We are here. We are not asking for anything different than any other human.”

Listen to Humanity Unites: Speaking out on equality for all