I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be here to speak about ECOSOC and to share with you and my table colleagues ABGLT (Asociación Brasileña de Gays, Lesbianas y Transgéneros – Brasilian Association of Gays, Lesbians and Transgenders) wishes and concerns in the application process to the United Nations.
Listen to the speech – See link at bottom of the page.
It is necessary that this debate be based on the premise that we live in a society where the mandatory heterosexuality (and I am borrowing this concept from Judith Butler) is rooted in our lives and exerts an overwhelming influence. Countless hetero-standard processes (meaning those granting the monopoly of normalcy to heterosexuality) generate and promote contempt and violence against those that differ from this imposed reference model. This is the reason for the negative response given to the LGTB organizations to all former applications to obtain consultative status in ECOSOC.
We are immersed in systems that produce individuals and identities forcefully heterosexual. We need only to observe the referents we had at school and within the family: only the binary thought always presenting man and woman as the only option to happiness and family model.
This binary matrix reinforces the discrimination and marginalization that we suffer as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites, transsexuals and intersexuals. And here it is necessary to distinguish between discrimination and marginalization.
Discrimination has to do with the treatment stated by laws; and marginalization is a social attitude and, lastly, a person´s attitude towards another person: it is the result of what we understand as prejudice. It is important to prioritize our actions to fight against discrimination in order to obtain more resources in our flight against marginalization. If laws and/or resolutions do not confer equal consideration, it is much more difficult to fight prejudice.
If LGBT persons are citizens just like any others (and they are, since they pay taxes, help build their countries, vote…), they will better fight for their equality in other fields if they can count on such an important support as the legal system, having the State and/or human rights defense mechanisms backing them. Furthermore, fighting in our countries, we should also advance in the international scenario and pursue the recognition of consultative status in social and economical issues in the UN, in order to give opinion and contribute a reflexion in which diversity could be guaranteed and true democracy realized.
The end of discrimination starts with dialogue with the States, showing them the situations where LGBT persons’ human rights are violated, the absurdity of these situations and the need to apply laws and resolutions equally to all persons.
We do not want special rights, contrary to what the Vatican said in its declaration to the NGOs Committee. We want the same rights, no more and no less! And we do not want to be accused of pedophilia, since our organization watches over and works in defense of children´s and teenagers’ rights in our country.
What are the features of such conservative, present positions?
• The gender´s hegemonic conceptualization – reinforcement of a dominating masculinity (power enforcement)
• The religious control over sexual life – penalizes the use of the right to decide concerning our body and our sexual life.
• Socio-economic systems – generating poverty, migration, sexual survival…
Lastly, we are here to say that we want the consultative status in ECOSOC for LGBT organizations and also that the United Nations:
• Help eliminate obstacles limiting or preventing LGBT persons’ full development,
• Help guarantee our community effective participation in the political, economical, cultural and social lives in their countries, and, finally,
• Help promote all necessary conditions for people´s freedom and equality to be real and effective.
Many thanks for your attention
Beto de Jesus
ABGLT, Brasilian Association Of Gays, Lesbians And Transgenders
Translated from Spanish into English by Ines Sagarna