The globalization of the LGBTI+ human rights movement in the twenty-first century is best illustrated by a meeting which took place in 2006 in the city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Responding to well-documented patterns of abuse, a distinguished group of some thirty human rights experts from a wide range of countries gathered there to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the official proclamation of the Yogyakarta Principles. These were intended to serve as a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must ideally comply.
The 29 principles insist that sexual and gender minorities should be guaranteed a range of basic rights, such as the right to non-discrimination, recognition, security, privacy, freedom from torture and degrading treatment, adequate housing and education. They have become a moral compass and major lobbying instrument for LGBTI+ activists around the world. As often, the principles have had to be adapted to accommodate the movement’s changing ideas and growing inclusiveness. As recently as 2017, they were expanded by ten ‘Additional Principles and State Obligations’ that referred not only to sexual orientation and gender identity but also to gender expression and sex characteristics.
This so-called ‘YP plus 10 document’ was inspired by developments in international human rights law, but also by a better understanding of violations suffered by persons on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and by a growing recognition of the distinct and intersectional grounds of gender expression and sex characteristics.
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