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LGBT/SOGI Human Rights Program

"Veil of Silence" post-film screening panel discussion highlights

International Lesbian, Gay,  Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Human Rights at the United Nations

Guided by our principles, Unitarian Universalists are called to advocate for international human rights; to be a voice for the voiceless by promoting the inherent worth and dignity of all living things. The Unitarian Universalist-United Nations Office (UU-UNO) is committed to bringing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) human rights to the forefront of the UN agenda. 

LGBTI Human Rights on the UN Agenda

The UU-UNO demonstrated its unwavering commitment to international LGBTQI rights at the September 2008 61st Annual United Nations DPI-NGO conference in Paris, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Executive Director Bruce Knotts hosted the first ever LGBT workshop, opening a dialogue and giving voice to a movement developing in human rights. Take a look!

Then, again, during the 12th session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that took place in June 2014, the UU-UNO presented a statement to the co-chairs  proposing amendments to certain targets under Goal 10, which deals with inequality among social groups within countries. In that statement, we expressed our solidarity on the fact that even the most inclusive language, more often than not, will not suffice in securing the fundamental human rights of LGBTQI populations on the ground. This is why we called for explicit inclusion of LGBTQI demographics in the language of the targets. Although our statement was the only statement to explicitly mention LGBTQI peoples and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) rights, it was well received and was also the only to receive applause. Check it out here! Bruce's speech begins at 38:15.

Improving LGBT Refuge and Asylum

Approximately 80 nations criminalize same-sex relations. Seven apply the death penalty for homosexual acts. The UU-UNO works to advocate for LGBT/SOGI rights at the United Nations. Learn more by reading our LGBT Global Action Guide.

Asylum, refuge, and resettlement procedures for LGBTQI people can endanger their well-being, even after they flee. The UU-UNO works to provide support and community to those forced to flee their homes and has complied a number of resources to help those seeking various services.

Joining Forces—Interfaith Work

The UU-UNO has joined forces with LGBT Faith Asylum Network (LGBT-FAN), a newly assembled group made up of faith leaders, asylum-seekers, asylees, activists, LGBT community center staff, policy experts, and refugee resettlement workers dedicated to helping people who flee to North America because of persecution in their home country based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. LGBT-FAN is also highly involved with several justice campaigns. Join forces by visiting the website.

Fighting the Exportation of Homophobia

The UU-UNO supports global efforts, including grassroots campaigns, to combat the spread of homophobia and the incitement to genocide by local, foreign, state and non-state actors. This includes hosting events and programs to raise awareness on the issue. To find upcoming events, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or join our email list.

What's New

  • The UU-UNO is working with the LGBT Freedom and Asylum Network to organize projects in New York City that help increase services and the quality of life for LGBT Asylum Seekers. Our office has been reaching out to local inter-faith spaces to get them engaged in supporting LGBT Asylum Seekers. For more information, email unintern [at] uua [dot] org with "Attn LGBT Asylum" in the subject line.
  • Read about the Basic Freedoms in a Homophobic World Event

For more information contact unitednations@uua.org.