Hivos International

LGBT Rights

In 2014, I was struck by a CNN interview with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Nigeria’s finance minister, in which she was asked about her country’s new draconian anti-LGBT law which had been signed just two months before. The “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act”  criminalized public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricted the work of LGBTI organizations.

Two of the most controversial issues in Latin America have resurfaced recently due to the decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) that recognises same-sex marriage and the right for Trans people to choose their gender identity as inherent rights.

Photographs by Ángel Damián Reyes / Text by Ángel Damián Reyes and Alonso Jiménez

Lea esta entrada en español.

How often can you say you’ve attended a ‘historic event’? Not too often, but I think the consultation of - here’s a mouthful -  the Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (UN IE SOGI) qualifies as one. This is the first time ever that an official has been mandated within the UN system to work on these issues.

Latin America is suffering from an epidemic. It seems very contagious, but it does not affect the entire population equally. Neither water nor air borne - it is basically unpredictable. We are talking about violence against women, a widespread problem that is not new, but only very recently becoming visible.