Southeast Asia: The Rainbow in Context

ASEAN SOGIE Caucus launched today its latest report, “The Rainbow in Context: An Overview of the Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) Persons in Southeast Asia”. The report is the first in Southeast Asia and provides a summary of various human rights issues facing LGBTIQ people in the region.

The report highlighted key human rights trends, such as the increasing criminalization and pathologization of LGBTIQ people amidst the rising influence of conservative social forces. The report likewise discusses the increasing threats against human rights defenders working on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). Moreover, persistent discrimination in accessing social services and protection is also brought to light.

“We recognize some advances: new policies that address discrimination against LGBTIQ persons were adopted in Cambodia, Philippines, and Thailand, for example,” Ryan Silverio, the Regional Coordinator of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, stated. “However, we need to recognize that beyond these gains are gloomy political context where serious human rights violations take place. We cannot just take LGBTIQ rights in isolation.”

The report situates both the gains and challenges faced by LGBTIQ human rights defenders and their allies within an increasingly fragile political environment. It also notes that progress made in various countries in Southeast Asia, noting the dilemmas of such initiatives being pursued by governments with questionable human rights records. The report further cautions about the use of LGBTIQ advocacy to scapegoat harsh political realities in some countries. Read more via ASEAN SOGIE CAUCUS