Submission to the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World), with the support of a number of organisations including the Young Queer Alliance, submitted on 07 February 2022 to the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, its report “LGBTI and Gender Non-Conforming people’s right to health and the realisation of SDG 3: global needs, gaps and trends.”
This submission focuses on the current challenges that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) persons face on their enjoyment of the right to health, including global COVID-19 pandemic effects on LGBTI persons, mental health outcomes due to discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression and/or sex characteristics (SOGIESC), sexual and reproductive rights for LBTI+ women and the specific barriers faced by lesbian, trans and intersex persons in accessing healthcare. Moreover, this submission provides and overview of best practices and gaps on the implementation, in different regions, of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3) by showcasing statistics and case examples.
One of the key highlights of the report is the lack of access to healthcare and particular health-related issues for LGBTI and GNC people in relation to target 3.8 of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being.
LGBTI people are poorly considered across the healthcare sector due to discrimination, exclusionary health policies, lack of SOGIESC awareness by health-providers and inappropriate services. This type of discrimination may have multiple forms such as physical violence and verbal abuse by health workers, denial of services, and a general context of ignorance concerning SOGIESC themes. These issues constitute a huge obstacle to achieve universal health coverage for all, impacting the consecution of SDG3 target 3.8 in multiple countries.
For instance, the exclusion of LGBTI and GNC persons within medical settings and lack of SOGIESC-supportive healthcare services resulted in only 7.84% of LGBTI+ people in Mauritius approaching health institutions or doctors due to their lack of confidence in the healthcare system and lack of support from healthcare providers.
In Haiti, 32% of LBQ women and trans masculine persons feel they received poorer healthcare services; 27% were insulted or denied service based on SOGIE.
The most common issues on LGBTI person’s mental health are suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, psychological distress and mental disorders. LGBTIQ+ people in Australia are two and a half times more likely to have been diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition.
To achieve SDG3 for LGBTI and GNC people, the report recommends, inter-alia:
- improve research and data collection on LGBTI and GNC persons, by including tailored survey items and reporting data disaggregated by SOGIESC;
- ensure that awareness-raising of healthcare professionals on the specific needs and living conditions of LGBTI and GNC persons is included in the design and implementation of policies on health;
- finance community-based initiatives aimed at addressing existing gaps on access to healthcare for lesbian or other non-heterosexual women and specific health-related disparities for this population; and
- ensure that LGBTI and GNC persons are explicitly recognised as a target group in the implementation of the Agenda 2030, particularly in relation to countries’ progress on achieving SDG 3.
Young Queer Alliance