A recently published Mother Jonesarticle highlights the current child refugee crisis in the US, telling the story of the tens of thousands of children from Central America fleeing violence and risking their lives to enter the country without an adult. The piece includes the story of one gay teen, known pseudonymously as Adrián, who fled gang violence in Guatemala, encountering anti-gay attacks along his journey and homophobic abuse in a US shelter.
The surge in public attention on child refugees comes in light of President Obama’s call to Congress for $3.7 billion dollars in additional funding to increase border security and resources for processing children and families through deportation proceedings. This humanitarian crisis has many dimensions: the unaddressed causes of the violence in Central America, the urgent need for decent shelter and legal help for these young people, the ugly xenophobic calls to deport them without due process.
In a wide-ranging interview today, Fresh Air host Terry Gross asked Hillary Clinton about her work protecting transgender people while she was the Secretary of State. The U.S. State Department has been instrumental in addressing transgender human rights abroad while also ensuring transgender Americans can update the gender on their passports.
Responding to Terry Gross’ question on addressing transgender equality, Clinton said:
“It was part of the overall efforts to try to treat people with dignity and equality. And certainly the Obama Administration made some of its own moves at the same time with respect to the larger federal employee pool. And when I had responsibility for the well-being of the 70,00 people or so employees around the world who worked for the State Department and USAID, I had the opportunity through executive action to recognize that there were barriers and vestiges to discrimination that had no place in a modern American workplace, and so I acted.”
In “Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization – An interagency statement,” the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other UN agencies have recognized that sterilization without the “full, free and informed consent” of an individual is a violation of that person’s human rights.
The UN Health (WHO), Human Rights (OHCHR), Women’s (UN Women), Development (UNDP), Population (UNFPA), Children’s (UNICEF), and AIDS (UNAIDS) agencies issuing the statement recognized that transgender people have been historically, and are currently, discriminated against through policies requiring surgery, often resulting in sterilization, in order to obtain legal documents reflecting their gender identity and other forms of legal and social recognition. As the statement observes, “According to international and regional human rights bodies and some constitutional courts, and as reflected in recent legal changes in several countries, these sterilization requirements run counter to respect for bodily integrity, self-determination and human dignity, and can cause and perpetuate discrimination against transgender and intersex persons.”
NCTE recognizes yesterday’s United Nations (U.N.) statement, written in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The declaration, which was announced at the first-ever meeting of the United Nations’ LGBT Core Group, comes almost two years after the U.N.’s first official report on the human rights violations faced lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Foreign ministers from 10 Member States called for the end of violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“We, ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and United States, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – members of the LGBT Core Group at the United Nations – hereby declare our strong and determined commitment to eliminating violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”