The United Nations’ independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity says he is “deeply alarmed” by the state of LGBTQ equality in the U.S.
At a Tuesday press briefing following a 10-day trip to the U.S., Victor Madrigal-Borloz warned that progress made over the course of previous decades is being undermined at both the state and federal level.
“Despite five decades of progress, equality is not within reach, and often not even within sight,” Madrigal-Borloz said.
During the trip, Madrigal-Borloz visited Washington DC, Miami, San Diego, and Birmingham, Alabama, and met with representatives from federal, state, and local governments, representatives from civil society organizations, LGBTQ people, and authorities at a detention center holding asylum seekers, according to a United Nations release.
“I am deeply alarmed by a widespread, profoundly negative riptide created by deliberate actions to roll back the human rights of LGBT people at state level,” he said. “The evidence shows that, without exception, these actions rely on prejudiced and stigmatizing views of LGBT persons, in particular transgender children and youth, and seek to leverage their lives as props for political profit.”
The U.S. has seen a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation at the state level in recent months, much of it targeting LGBTQ youth. In his report, Madrigal-Borloz noted that in 2021, 268 anti-equality bills were introduced in state legislatures and that the number is expected to be even higher in 2022. He called out so-called “Don’t Say Gay” laws in Florida and Alabama, which severely restrict the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools; laws restricting transgender and gender diverse people’s access to bathrooms; and laws criminalizing transgender children’s access to gender-affirming healthcare.
Madrigal-Borloz also noted that LGBTQ people of color are particularly at risk in the U.S., facing inequality in relation to health, education, employment, and housing, as well as being disproportionately impacted by violence.
He acknowledged the Biden administration’s efforts via executive orders to combat anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
“The Biden-Harris administration has adopted powerful and meaningful actions that are in conformity with international human rights law, reveal a thoughtful strategy created through participative approaches, and provide significant capacity for their implementation,” he said. “In light of a concerted attack to undermine these actions, I exhort the administration to redouble its efforts to support the human rights of all LGBT persons living under its jurisdiction.”