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Rights Perspectives on Laws Assigning Gender

People whose identities do not fit into a rigid female/male gender binary have, in many countries, been on a years-long quest to obtain official documents that reflect their identities by using a non-binary “X” marker in lieu of the typical “F” or “M…
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Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson Prime Minister 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA Re: Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 17 June 2020   Dear Prime Minister, On behalf of Human Rights Watch, I write to request that your government…
The transgender pride flag.
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The following is a joint statement by Liberty, Amnesty International UK and Human Rights Watch: Human rights are universal and belong to everyone. Yet too often in the UK trans people are spoken about and treated as though their rights don’t matter…
The transgender pride flag.
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Legal Green Light for Abortion Services, Same-Sex Marriage Only a First Step

Clocks over Northern Ireland were counting down as the region prepared for a leap toward furthering equality. At midnight on Monday, legislation came into force that decriminalized abortion and legalized same-sex marriage in…
Equal marriage supporters at Maverick Bar, Belfast, celebrate the change to abortion and same sex marriage laws in Northern Ireland
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New Police Data Shows Intolerance Across the Board

New hate crimes data for the United Kingdom shows a shocking number of incidents targeting LGBT people. As I was reading these figures, the need for LGBT-inclusive classes in UK schools has never been more apparent. The data…
Revellers wave flags during a gay pride parade in downtown Madrid, Spain, July 2, 2016.
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Protests Against LGBT Curriculum Force Suspension of Inclusive Programs

Debate is growing in the UK over schools teaching children about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) identities and relationships. When a Birmingham school started the “No Outsiders” program, lessons aimed…
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Support States and Organizations Working for LGBT Rights in the Commonwealth

Meeting Commonwealth leaders this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed regret for Britain’s role in criminalizing same-sex conduct in its former colonies. “I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my…
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May hosts a meeting with leaders and representatives of Caribbean countries, at 10 Downing Street in London April 17, 2018.
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In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
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Survey Shows Increase, and Under-reporting

Hate crimes against LGBT people in the UK have surged by nearly 80 per cent in recent years, according to a new detailed survey. The report by British group Stonewall, based on a survey of 5,000 participants, showed that 16…
A poster advertising the exhibition, "Queer British Art: 1861-1967" at the Tate Britain museum in London, United Kingdom, 2017.
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Court Ruling Opens the Way to Marriage Equality

Taiwan’s constitutional court this week paved the way for marriage equality in the country by striking down the legal definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The landmark decision declared this limited…
Supporters hug each other during a rally after Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, in Taipei, Taiwan May 24, 2017.
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Transgender Woman Helps People ‘Searching for Answers’

I was in Colombia last week to speak at an event about my work for Human Rights Watch with a focus on homophobic and transphobic bullying. I was to be interviewed by Brigitte Baptiste, who I had never met. When I took my seat in front of hundreds of…
Brigitte Baptiste (L) and Human Rights Watch LGBT Advocacy Director Boris Dittrich, Colombia, February 2017.
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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Landmark Ruling Ends Legal Uncertainty, Strengthens LGBT Rights

(New York) – The Colombian Constitutional Court ended years of uncertainty for same-sex couples and bolstered the rights of LGBT people when it upheld the validity of same-sex marriage on April 28, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today…
Protesters wave rainbow flags and advocate for LGBT rights outside of the Congress building in Bogotá.
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This Saturday, thousands of Peruvians are expected to take to the streets of Lima to "March for Equality". The march, the second of its kind, comes hot on the heels of a vote on a civil union bill in the Peruvian Congress. The bill, which proposed legal…
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Condemns Violence, Bias Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

(Geneva) – The UN Human Rights Council resolution passed on September 26, 2014, to combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a critically important achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal…
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Personally I am pleased to say that I am authentically and verifiably gay, having seen The Wizard of Oz, albeit late in life.  I am grateful to a friend who explained that, in the US at least, I would lose my gay card if unable to answer the question: “…
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My last visit to the House of Lords was in 2006. At the time I was still a member of the Dutch parliament and I was invited to be on a panel about Afghanistan. What I remember most of that brief visit to the House of Lords was not the discussion about war…
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Statement Delivered Under Item 6

Human Rights Watch welcomes the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Burundi, which includes important recommendations on the protection of civil and political as well as social, economic and cultural rights.  The Burundian government has…
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Making a difference in Malawi, Albania, Lithuania and Uganda

Human Rights Watch protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who are subject to discrimination and violence—and sometimes even torture or execution—because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We advocate for the principles…