Report on data
Social prejudice and criminalization lead to the marginalization and exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans and gender non-conforming (LGBT) persons from essential services, including health, education, employment, housing and access to justice1.
In May 2018, a group of United Nations and international human rights experts expressed concern that LGBT people are being effectively left behind. They noted: “the development commitments of the international community, placed in the frame of the SDGs, demands that immediate attention be given to ensuring that the systematic exclusion of these groups, communities and populations be addressed: to make sure that no one is left behind, actions must be taken to tear down the systematic barriers that exclude LGBT persons from the benefits of the development agenda.” In this context, the experts underlined that such actions will rely among other, on the availability of data and on ensuring that disaggregated data collection and management are implemented in strict compliance with human rights standards.
Currently, however, there is a serious gap in the data available to capture the lived realities of LGBT people. Social prejudice and criminalization may result in non- or underreporting of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and may seriously affect data collection efforts, which would help to provide evidence of the extent of the challenges faced by the LGBT population and of the policy and legislative needs in that regard. Similarly, the negation, by some States, of the existence of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or even of the presence of LGBT persons in their jurisdiction, will result in serious data gaps. The collection is crucial to create visibility and build an evidence base about human rights abuses and potential responses, dispel myths and stereotypes that feed stigma and discrimination, and aid policy-makers and advocates in the formulation of State measures regarding socio-economic inclusion, access to health and education, inclusion in the civic and political sphere, anti-discriminatory measures, prevention of abuses, and access to justice.
In recent years, some States, regional human rights bodies, and multilateral institutions such as the United Nations have initiated efforts to increase the level of knowledge about LGBT people and the discrimination and violence they face. Additionally, governments are increasingly including aspects of sexual orientation and gender in routine data collection that takes place as part of governmental administrative functions. This interest in collecting data has been driven by several factors, including increased concern by States for the human rights of LGBT people, a call for disaggregated data as part of the 2030 Agenda (UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/1), the development a new LGBTI Inclusion Index, and the articulation of a human rights based approach to data by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Moreover, in 2018, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law supplemented its 2012 report to address new developments in this field and, among other matters, identified data collection and a security as an issue of concern. The Commission recommended that governments establish legal protections to safeguard privacy and confidentiality in social media, digital health, online healthcare records, communications with providers. The Commission further recommended that governments prohibit non-consensual use by law enforcement or private entities of digitally-collected or stored private information, especially data related to sexual and reproductive health.
These efforts carry benefits for, and risks to, the human rights of LGBT people. Data is needed to understand the nature and extent of violence and discrimination against LGBT people, dispel myths and stereotypes that feed stigma and discrimination, and aid in the formulation of state measures that incorporate relevant communities. At the same time, any effort to collect data about sexual orientation and gender identity raises concerns about privacy, identity, self-determination, and security. Information about an individual’s sexuality and gender continues to be highly stigmatizing. LGBT people remain vulnerable to the risks associated with the collection, maintenance and use of data. In countries where same-sex sexual conduct is criminalized, where laws and policies are used to discriminate against or persecute LGBT persons, or where stigma and prejudice are rampant, the probability that victims will dare to report abuses is very low, owing to fear of prosecution, stigma, reprisals or victimization, unwillingness to be “outed”, or lack of trust. Even in progressive environments, the worry of regression may lead to non- or underreporting. In addition, there is currently no globally accepted definition, or international classification scheme, to facilitate internationally comparable data between subpopulations according to sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more via OHCHR
Data collection and management as a means to create heightened awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity*
The present report is being submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to Council resolution 32/2.
In the report, the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, focuses on data collection and management as a means to create heightened awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, identifies risks associated with data collection, use and storage, and highlights key human rights safeguards in that regard.
Activities carried out from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019
Data related to sexual orientation and gender identity
The case for data collection and management
Risks associated with data collection and management.
Overview of guiding principles and practical examples
Current efforts to increase knowledge about lesbian, gay, bisexual,
trans and gender-diverse persons
Good and best practices for managing risk
Conclusions and recommendations .