The Plight of LGBTQ People at Our Borders & Around the Globe Can’t Be Ignored

by HRC Staff

On the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day, we celebrate the global recognition that every human being is born with basic human rights and dignity that cannot be taken away.

Today is Human Rights Day, marking the historic day in 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. On this 70th anniversary, we celebrate the global recognition that every human being is born with basic human rights and dignity that cannot be taken away. Yet, as an LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go to achieving that goal.

Even today, we need look no further than the humanitarian crisis happening at the U.S.-Mexico border, where the Trump-Pence administration is rejecting those who are fleeing violence in Central America -- a good number of whom are members of the LGBTQ community. We will not stop until every member of our community, no matter who they are or who they love, anywhere in the world, is safe, secure, and truly free and equal.

In addition to calling out the human rights crisis at our borders, HRC has also worked recently through our #EyesOnChechnya campaign to shine a spotlight on the dire situation that has unfolded in Chechnya, where LGBTQ people have been targeted with systematic torture, abuse, and murder. Since the news broke more than a year ago, the Trump-Pence White House has refused to publicly condemn the atrocities -- even as Vladimir Putin has licensed the violence to continue.

In July, on the eve of the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, HRC projected an enormous message on the Presidential Palace demanding that Trump and Putin immediately condemn and investigate the ongoing anti-LGBTQ crimes against humanity occurring in Chechnya. We will continue to speak out to this administration and the world that these crimes against humanity must stop.

Our transgender siblings continue to face disproportionately high rates of violence in the U.S. -- particularly Black and Latina trans women. In November, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018, a heartbreaking report honoring the more than 20 transgender people killed in 2018 and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. According to Transgender Europe, almost 2,500 trans people were murdered in dozens of countries between 2008 and 2016. Central American countries including Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have been especially inhospitable and dangerous for transgender people.

Human Rights Day is a time for people from all backgrounds and from every corner of the world  to join in demanding that the rights espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights apply to every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This Human Rights Day, let’s recommit to building a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.