One UN human rights expert’s fight to eliminate ‘conversion therapies’

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2/18/22

Some 69 States around the world currently criminalise homosexual relations between consenting adults. This means that in just this one area of human rights violations, two billion people are being discriminated against on a daily basis – a third of the world’s population. This criminalisation has measurable consequences in terms of public health and access to education, says Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN’s independent human rights expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.Created by the Human Rights Council in 2016 by a majority of States concerned about victims of violence and discrimination, based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, the expert’s mandate has been entrusted since 2017 to Mr. Madrigal-Borloz, a Costa Rican-born lawyer and teacher at Harvard Law School. In an interview with the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG), Mr. Madrigal-Borloz said he advocates for a world free of the criminalisation of gender orientation and gender identity, including the elimination of conversion therapies.For example, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz says that criminalisation results in “young LGBT people dropping out of school three times more than non-LGBT people, or trans people getting HIV/AIDS, 47 times more than gay men – and even 76 times more than the general population.” The reason for this gigantic discrepancy, he points out, is that too often a trans person who is ill, will not seek health services for fear of being ridiculed and will not receive the care they really need.

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