Thinking Globally about Sex and Gender: The Yogyakarta Principles
A couple of years ago I discovered a document called the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, created in 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by the International Commission of Jurists and the International Service for Human Rights, on behalf of a coalition of human rights organizations in reaction to egregious international human rights violations pertaining to individuals marginalized for their sexual orientation and/or gender identifications.
The introduction to the Yogyakarta Principles begins with…
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. all human rights are universal, interdependent, indivisible and interrelated. sexual orientation1) and gender identity2) are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity and must not be the basis for discrimination or abuse” (p. 6).
…and ends with…
“The Yogyakarta Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all states must comply. they promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfill that precious birthright” (p. 7).
I’m an advocate for every clinician and educator’s (and every human, really) reading this document in its entirety. Though the abridged principles listed as follows can be interpreted in different ways out of context, thinking critically about them as they stand here is a useful exercise in itself:
- The right to the universal enjoyment of human rights.
- The rights to equality and non-discrimination.
- The right to recognition before the law.
- The right to life.
- The right to security of the person.
- The right to privacy.
- The right to freedom of arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
- The right to a fair trial.
- The right to treatment with humanity while in detention.
- The right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- The right to protection from all forms of exploitation, sale and trafficking of human beings.
- The right to work.
- The right to social security and to other social protection measures.
- The right to an adequate standard of living.
- The right to adequate housing.
- The right to education.
- The right to the highest attainable standard of health.
- Protection from medical abuses.
- The right to freedom of opinion and expression.
- The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
- The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
- The right to freedom of movement.
- The right to seek asylum.
- The right to found a family.
- The right to participate in public life.
- The right to participate in cultural life.
- The right to promote human rights.
- The right to effective remedies and redress.
Some interesting questions to ponder:
What of the above principles most affect you?
Which do you take for granted?
Which have you fought for?