A Closer Look at the UN Guidelines for Universal Access for MSM and Transgender People
Written By: Chelsea Ricker May 27, 2009
As we reported in our link round up on May 15, the United Nations has released a new action framework, UNAIDS Action Framework on Universal Access for Men who have Sex with Men and for Transgender People (which you can download as a PDF by clicking on the image to the left).
I’ve taken a bit of a closer look at it, and here’s a quick assessment:
•They specifically use “transgender people” for the purposes of this paper to mean male to female, as they “have much higher rates of HIV infection than ‘female to male’ transgender people.”
•Similarly, they note that lesbians may be at risk of HIV through sexual violence, but don’t discuss further the implications of that and basically drop lesbians from the rest of the paper.
•They’re a little overeager to draw the connection between reducing transmission among MSM as a conduit to reducing heterosexual transmission. But that’s getting nit-picky.
•Human rights is goal number one. This document is not playing around that human rights violations of MSM and trans people are driving the infection rates in these populations and must be addressed for any intervention to have a prayer of working. It’s VERY strong on this.
•Strong emphasis on making sure governments, non-governmental organizations, etc. can “appropriately address diverse sexuality.” One of the action points is training for UN staff.
o Under objective 1:
-The promotion and guarantee of the human rights of MSM and trans people, including protection from discrimination and removal of legal barriers to access such as laws that criminalize sex between males. (why just males? I don’t know.)
-The empowerment of MSM and trans communities to participate equally in social and political life.
-Public campaigns to address homophobia and transgender discrimination
-Training and sensitization of health care providers
-Access to medical and legal assistance for boys, men and trans people who experience sexual abuse. (again, this should have been expanded to more than men and boys.)
o Under objective 3:
-Access to drugs, gender reassignment procedures and support
-The ability to change one’s name and gender identity on official documents and the legal right to live as another gender, free from stigma or discrimination.
The awesome: They expressly state that the big Human Rights documents (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) include MSM and trans people.