At the conclusion of a ten-day visit to the United States, a United Nations Working Group of experts issued a preliminary statement on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice in the U.S. While praising the Obama administration for its commitment to women’s equality, the group noted that there is a wide diversity in state law and practice regarding women’s health and reproductive rights, maternity leave and other issues.
The Working Group delegation met with federal, state and local officials, as well as civil society organizations, academics and service providers in Washington, D.C., Alabama, Oregon and Texas. HRC was invited to participate in the consultations in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery, Alabama, which focused on the situation of LBTQ women in the U.S. and the American south.
HRC Senior Legislative Counsel Robin Maril noted that despite great progress for LGBT people over the past decade in the U.S., there is much more to be done.
“Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women living at the intersection of sexism, homophobia and transphobia continue to face poor health outcomes, violence and economic insecurity fueled by discrimination on a daily basis,“ she said.
Maril addressed health disparities and the challenges of access to culturally competent quality health care, violence against the transgender community that disproportionately impacts transgender women of color and the economic disparity and financial discrimination faced by lesbian couples and transgender women. She noted that in a recent study, 56 percent of LGB people and 70 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported experiencing discrimination by healthcare provider. Maril also noted that the HIV epidemic continues to disproportionately impact transgender women, particularly in communities of color, and the estimate that transgender women are 4.3 times more at risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of all women. In 2015, more than 20 transgender women in the U.S. were murdered simply because of who they are.
In Montgomery, Project One America State Director Patricia Todd discussed the situation of LBTQ women in Alabama, and expressed concern about access to healthcare and job discrimination protections for transgender women, among other concerns.
The UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice was created by the Human Rights Council in 2011 with a broad mandate to explore and report on “good practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women” in UN member states, and to “develop a dialog” around these issues with them.