Love is a human right

7 April 2015, 15:11 UTC | Worldwide
New Zealand supporters take part in Auckland’s Pride Parade. 22 February, 2014. © Amnesty International

No matter what your actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is, you have the right to be treated equally by the government and other people. Yet today it is a crime to be gay in 78 countries around the world.

In fact in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan and many other countries, you can be sentenced to death for being gay or lesbian.

What does sexual orientation and gender identity mean?

Sexual orientation: Who you feel attracted to, whether it is men, women, either or neither. Your sexual orientation defines you as, for example, gay, straight or bisexual.

Gender identity: Who you are, how you identify and express yourself regardless of  your physical make-up. Your gender identity could be male, female, gender queer, non-gendered, intersex and so on.

What does LGBTI stand for?

LGBTI is an abbreivation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersexed.

LGBTI Rights are human rights

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed the first UN resolution focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexualLGBTI issues. This move confirmed that it is the duty of international human rights law to ensure that sexual and gender equality becomes a reality.

However legislation is not enough - laws need to be enforced. While many countries have agreed to protect human rights, they fail to protect individuals and LGBTI people remain at risk.

In many countries ignorance and lack of understanding about gender and sexual identity prevails  - often within police forces. This means that hate crimes against LGBTI people often go unreported and investigations are often flawed.

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