On Human Rights Anniversary, LGBT Groups Shift Strategies at UN

December 10 is human rights day, the 67th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, the focus of the presentations will shift to include not just human rights but also economic development. This shift, from human rights to economic and human development, represents a larger expansion in the strategy of the global LGBT movement which we will see played out in the years to come.

Until recently, LGBT groups have not focused on seeking inclusion in human and economic development programs. This has not been an oversight but rather a strategic choice. Fifteen years ago, a small number of LGBT activists were earnestly seeking recognition at the United Nations. Though certainly the battles are not over, the LGBT movement has been successful in assuring that LGBT issues are part of the human rights discussion. 

This same advancement has not happened in the sphere of human and economic development. The new set of global development goals adopted this year by the UN do not recognize LGBT people at all. These goals will guide trillions of dollars of international aid. The systems that are used to measure progress toward these goals --- a multitude of surveys and measurements of everything from health, education to domestic violence and agriculture -- do not track any data about LGBT people. In most countries in the world we know nothing to very little about the the lifespan, economic status, or educational attainment of LGBT people.  

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