By Melanie Nathan, November 14, 2023
LGBTs contribution to diversity must be recognized as part of the cultural heritage of humankind
Let us look at culture and arts through a human rights lense. In doing this I am pleased on behalf of African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) to welcome the new appointee to the UN Mandate for Independent Expert for SOGI, Graeme Reid, who has taken the position and at the same time to thank Victor Madrigal-Borloz for his years of excellent service to our global community.
While in certain social narratives the arts have historically been a safe haven for LGBTI+ persons, this is only true of a reduced number of contexts, and often only for the most successful of cultural creators. In most parts of this world, discrimination and violence based on #SOGI occurs throughout cultural spaces and in all forms of cultural expression.
Everyone must be able to access, take part in and contribute to cultural life; to freely express their world views, values and ways of life; to see themselves represented in public spaces, the media and cultural institutions.
Read more about the participation of LGBTI+ persons on cultural life from the joint statement of the newly appointed UN Independent Expert for SOGI (Sexual orientation and gender identity)
"Persons of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions are part of all sectors and aspects of society, and their contribution to the world’s cultural life have been fundamental throughout history, throughout which they have taken part in and contributed to the rich cultural life of their communities, countries, and the world. Nevertheless, due to discriminatory laws and societal norms, assumptions and stereotypes, these contributions to cultural life have often been made at a great personal price for their authors, and sometimes also for those who support the furtherance of their rights. On many occasions, the authors had to remain in secrecy and anonymity, and were therefore deprived of their right to benefit from the moral and material benefits of their creativity."
"While in certain social narratives the arts have historically been a safe haven for LGBT persons, this is only true of a reduced number of contexts, and often only for the most successful of cultural creators. In most parts of this world, discrimination and violence against LGBT persons occurs throughout cultural spaces and in all forms of cultural expression. Directors have their films banned for featuring LGBT stories, actors are denied access to roles because of their identity, singers face hostility simply for being supportive of LGBT inclusion.3 People who challenge cultural norms or attitudes about sexuality and reproduction, or narrow conceptions of “family” or “tradition”, they and their work are often subjected to various forms of regulation or accusations of being enemies of culture, religion or national or ethnic groups."
"We affirm together that the human rights standards and norms exist at the international level to guide the discussions relating to cultural rights and cultural diversity. Many debates that are happening at local and national levels do not appear to be fully informed about this guidance. In particular, we encourage all States to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and its Optional Protocol in order to secure the enjoyment of cultural rights for all persons and allow individuals to present complaints regarding their cultural rights at the international level. The Special Rapporteur and Independent Expert remind States and other stakeholders that LGBT persons must enjoy their cultural rights without discrimination. All persons must be able to freely express their own world views, values, and ways of life, and take part in shaping the contours of cultural life."
Here is the full statement