50 Advocacy Groups Just Asked the UN to Combat Trump’s “Hostility” Toward LGBTQ People

“We, the fifty undersigned legal experts and advocates, implore the United Nations to devote focus and attention to LGBTQ people’s experiences.”

In one of the surest signs the U.S. government’s discrimination against LGBTQ Americans has hit a breaking point, advocates have begun asking the international community to step in.

The nation’s top queer advocacy organizations have submitted a 54-page letter to the United Nations stating that the U.S. is antagonistic toward its own queer citizens.

The letter was submitted for the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, an assessment every five years of how each of its member countries are fulfilling their Human Rights Obligations.

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The 50 organizations cite a laundry list of cases demonstrating discrimination against LGBTQ workers and a government that turns its back on them.

“Now that the United States government is increasingly hostile to the rights of LGBTQ people—refusing to acknowledge even their basic dignity—we, the fifty undersigned legal experts and advocates, implore the United Nations to devote focus and attention to LGBTQ people’s experiences with discrimination and inequality,” the groups soberly ask.

Signers include Lambda Legal, the Transgender Law Center, Trans Lifeline, Equality California, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Black Justice Coalition, among others.

However, advocates say the letter does not mean they have given up battling the Trump administration on LGBTQ rights at home.

“There are many avenues in the United States in which we have to continue to advocate,” Puneet Cheema, staff attorney at Lambda Legal tells NewNowNext. “And we are continuing to advocate, including in state courts and local legislatures.”

It’s standard for advocates and legal experts to submit comments to the UN as part of its review process. However, this cycle marks the first time that LGBTQ groups have been able to submit comments since President Trump took office in 2017.

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Since that time, Trump has gutted LGBTQ protections at home —from instituting a ban on transgender military service to rolling back transgender healthcare protections— and undermined equality abroad. Last June, he ordered U.S. embassies not to fly pride flags. In March, he proposed dramatically slashing global HIV funding.

However, the letter to the UN focuses on workplace discrimination facing queer people. That’s because it was compiled as part of a report called Women’s Human Rights In The Changing World Of Work, which aims to tackle workplace discrimination. The 50 groups argue that the study should include LGBTQ people, particularly transgender and non-binary workers.

It details several LGBTQ workers who faced discrimination in hiring or at work because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, including Aimee Stephens, whose case over her firing from a funeral home in 2013 is headed to the Supreme Court. The Trump administration has asked the Court to green-light discrimination against LGBTQ workers like Stephens. Those cases will be heard next month.

Kate Sosin is an award-winning, trans-identified news and investigative reporter.
@shoeleatherkate