Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
17 May 2021
As the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, it is all the more important that we reaffirm our support for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people on this International Day.
During this period there is a risk of the situations of discrimination, harassment and violence, particularly domestic violence, faced by LGBTI people being exacerbated. Younger people in particular, because of the persistence of prejudice in their family or social environment, are sometimes threatened with being driven out of their homes and finding themselves in distress or destitution. Furthermore, as the work of voluntary organizations is more complex, LGBTI people are likely to lack contacts and trusted people to talk to.
It is therefore the duty of the international community – as well as, more broadly, of each and every one of us – to reaffirm the humanist principles in which we believe.
All LGBTI people have the right to respect and dignity regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity – in all circumstances.
Despite the progress made in recent decades, these principles are not yet unanimously shared. Millions of LGBTI people remain discriminated against, stigmatized, harassed and psychologically and/or physically abused.
The fight against these prejudices and discriminations will be won in minds; it is thus a long-term project, which will also have to make space for educational and awareness-raising activities.
Beyond this Day, we know that the mobilization against prejudice will be played out in classrooms and in the media, because that is where we come to understand the complexity of the world; and that is where we must prioritize pushing back against gender stereotyping and hate speech and discrimination.
Let this International Day, once again marked by the pandemic, be an opportunity to renew our collective commitment to defend human rights and to end all forms of homophobic and transphobic discrimination and violence.