Homophobia & Transphobia are a Public Health Crisis
We the undersigned believe that homophobia and transphobia constitute a public health crisis globally. Homophobia and transphobia are killing LGBTQ people. The oppression of LGBTQ people has profound negative consequences on physical and mental health, the ability to access quality healthcare, and the ability to be an active member of society. Furthermore, the oppression of LGBTQ people has profound negative consequences for broader community health. We call on public health officials and government leaders, public and private sectors to recognize homophobia and transphobia as a public health crisis and to act.
Homophobia and transphobia threaten the lives, rights and dignity of LGBTQ persons globally. Violence, lack of social protections, insufficient healthcare access, and social exclusion cause immense harm. LGBTQ persons are persistently more likely to experience violence than heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. The experience of violence, threat of criminal persecution, and discrimination exponentially create more mental health stressors and increase risk of suicide for LGBTQ people. In many countries, LGBTQ persons have no access to appropriate and adequate healthcare.
The real-world consequences of homophobia and transphobia has been a criminalization of same sex sexual behavior and gender diversity, structural discrimination, denial of healthcare, stigma, violence, torture, and execution. The HIV pandemic – now in its fourth decade - is an ongoing example of how the systemic oppression of a group of people can cause a society wide public health crisis.
Homophobia and transphobia are intricately linked. The rise in anti-trans legislation in many countries resulting from the increased power and geographical reach of anti-gender movement globally, and the banning or restriction of LGBTQ visibility in books and social media in some countries demonstrate how inextricably these forces are linked. Where sexuality and gender are strictly policed, LGBTQ individuals face additional vulnerabilities in employment, housing, education, and safety.
In light of the public health crisis caused by homophobia and transphobia, we collectively demand:
MPact Global and GATE are leading this initiative to have homophobia and transphobia declared a public health crisis. This call is supported by organizations in every region of the world.
A declaration by public health agencies that recognizes homophobia and transphobia are a public health crisis;
Public health agencies resource interventions to end homophobia and transphobia;
Resources for LGBTQ-led organizations to organize LGBTQ people to resist homophobia and transphobia;
Elected officials to recognize the public health crisis and advocate against homophobia and transphobia;
Media partners to highlight the ways that homophobia and transphobia persist in contemporary society, including the increasing levels of violence against LGBTQ persons; and
Further community-engaged research on the health impacts of homophobia and transphobia.
MPact is a catalyst for creating change among global gay, bisexual, and gender diverse communities. MPact works with community partners around the world to educate, empower, and mobilize queer communities to improve the health and wellness of gay, bisexual, and queer folks and advance human rights.
GATE is an international advocacy organization working towards justice and equality for trans, gender diverse, and intersex (TGDI) communities. Rooted in our movements, we work collaboratively with strategic partners at the international, regional, and national levels to ensure access to resources, knowledge, and decision-making spaces. GATE envisions a world free from human rights violations based on gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. We aim to ensure that trans, gender diverse, and intersex (TGDI) people can enjoy their human rights and achieve the highest level of health and wellbeing possible. GATE focuses on advocating for the human rights of trans, gender diverse, and intersex people, while also playing a pivotal role in strengthening the global trans, gender diverse, and intersex (TGDI) movements through training, capacity building, resource mobilization and political mobilization. Additionally, GATE prioritizes its institutional strengthening to ensure that we can continue to grow and develop as the leading advocacy and expert organization advancing the rights, health, and well-being of trans, gender diverse, and intersex (TGDI) people in a sustainable way.