Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Since 1947 many national governments have called for recognition of sexual minority rights as human rights. In the United Nations Human Rights Council 2006 Norway, on behalf of 54 member states, expressed “deep concern” about human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2008 Argentina, on behalf of 66 countries, issued a statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the UN General Assembly. It was followed by a counter statement, read by Syria on behalf of 57 states, arguing that rights on the basis of sexual orientation could lead to acceptance of pedophilia, bestiality and incest. In the UN Human Rights Council of 2011 Colombia, on behalf of 85 states, issued a statement calling for an end to acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A UN Human Rights Council declaration of grave concern about abuses based on sexual orientation, put forward by South Africa and accepted, meant that the United Nations endorsed LGBT rights for the first time in history.
Sexual rights of LGB persons
Sexual rights of sexual minorities differ considerably between countries and regions. The following laws and policies, listed by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ILGA, affect same-sex sexual activity rights:
- Age of consent laws (the minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts).
- Asylum on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Bias against sexual orientation is (not) regarded as an aggravating circumstance in hate crimes.
- (Interdiction of) discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
- (Interdiction of) entry to a country by foreigners with HIV and/or residence by foreign nationals with HIV.
- (Interdiction of) relationships between women: in 2012 ILGA published a world survey of laws criminalizing same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults.
- (Interdiction of) incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation.
- (Interdiction of) relationships between men: in 2012 ILGA published a world survey of laws criminalizing same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults.
Reproductive rights of LGB persons
With the reproductive rights of LGB persons we refer to their legal rights and freedoms to have offspring in a same-sex relationship. LGB persons can decide to have children in their relationship through donor insemination, surrogacy, foster care and/or adoption. LGB persons can also bring children into their same-sex relationship from previous heterosexual relationships.
The following laws and policies, listed by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ILGA, affect LGB reproductive rights:
- Adoption and foster parenting by gay and lesbian couples.
- Exclusion of lesbians from donor insemination and fertility treatments.
- Exclusion of gay couples from surrogacy.
- Second-parent adoption.
Keeping track of LGB rights
Different organizations and authorities track status of and changes in LGB rights.
- The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ILGA has developed an interactive world map with information about more laws and policies for LGBTI people worldwide. ILGA also published the Rainbow Europe Country Index , rating each European country’s laws and administrative practices that protect or violate the human rights of LGBT people according to 24 categories (like anti-discrimination legislation and criminal law).
- Amnesty International in 2008 issued a publication on different legal approaches to criminalizing homosexuality (from explicitly criminalizing homosexuality to criminalization on the so-called basis of public health concerns) and listed the countries that incur death penalty for same-sex relationships.
- In 2011 the UN published its first report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, discussing the way international human rights law can be used against LGBT discrimination.