On Monday, the United Nations granted consultative status to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) after a three-year application process. The IGLHRC was put to vote before the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) where it was passed with 23 in favour, 13 against, 13 abstaining from voting and 5 absentees. The NGO shall now be consulted by the UN on matters within its competence.
IGLHRC has been a long-standing advocated for sexual minorities before international bodied and lobbied to have the LGBT rights included in the official discussions at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The organisation has also been active at the first UN General Assembly meeting on HIV and AIDS in 2001 has been part of collaborations between NGOs and supportive member states that resulted in the ground breaking 2008 UNGA Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity which was signed by 67 UN Member States.
Interestingly, and more importantly sadly, India abstained from voting on the resolution, which is a small cause for concern. As I see it, this is not of particular importance to LGBT rights in India since for now the Naz Foundation judgement is our ticket to freedom from the draconian 377, and shall continue to be till the Supreme Court rules on it. That having been said, it still speaks volumes about the mindset of high-ups who dictate how we live our lives.
Also, in what I’d like to call “The WTF moment of the week”, we have a department of the Pakistan government using transgender women to “embarrass” or “shame” tax evaders into paying their taxes. According to the Clifton Cantonment Group which is responsible for collecting taxes, less than 1% of Pakistan’s population pays their taxes, and the group hopes that sending transgender women to pressurise people will do the job.
I wish transgendered people in the Indian subcontinent would treat themselves with a little more respect. It’s saddening to see hijras using their gender identity to extort money from people. The way I see it when you do that, you’re demanding special attention. Why should you? You’re in no way inferior to anyone else, so why demand different treatment? Like Article 14 says- equality among equals. We’re all equal, and should be treated the exact same way.