"Sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent to everybody," Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn told the assembled members of the UN Human Rights Council. "How you feel toward one another, that’s sexual orientation. How you feel about yourself, which may be different from the gender assigned at birth, is gender identity."
Mr. Muntarbhorn, who is the Independent Expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), made his statement during a presentation to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. It is the first report to the Council since the position was created by the Council in 2016.
In order to address violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Mr. Muntarbhorn said it is "it is essential to harness and reinforce mutual respect, tolerance and understanding, compliance with human rights and a sense of humanity inherent to diversity." The theme of the report, "Diversity in humanity, humanity in diversity" is anchored on this belief, Mr. Muntarbhorn said.
The report lists six "underpinnings" – areas that, if addressed, can help establish a safer environment for LGBT communities. These include: decriminalization of consensual same sex relations, effective anti-discrimination measures, legal recognition of gender identity, destigmatization linked with depathologization, sociocultural inclusion and promotion of education and empathy. Read more via OHCHR