MAY 17 — This year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia focuses on raising awareness of the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people.
The global burden of disease from mental disorders is rising. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. The lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in gay/bisexual males is about four times that of comparable heterosexual males.
Research has shown conclusively that LGBT individuals show higher than expected rates of psychiatric disorders, but once their rights and equality are recognised these rates begin to drop.
There is growing recognition worldwide that same-sex sexual orientation and diverse gender identity and expression are not mental or physical disorders. Yet, many millions of LGBTI individuals around the world continue to face widespread stigma and discrimination, and many suffer violence and oppression.
This is cause for action. We can and we must do more.
We need to continue to raise awareness and take action to ensure that all people have an equal right to live healthy lives free from violence, persecution, stigma, and discrimination. The failure to uphold the human rights of LGBTI people and ensure that they have protection from abuse and violence has negative consequences for health, well-being, and development.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world which is just and inclusive of all. At UNDP we are committed to reducing inequalities and ending exclusion. We will not reach the Sustainable Development Goals if segments of our populations are treated as less than equal because of their very being.
“Leave no one behind” is a core principle of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This must include LGBTI people — for better health, for better mental health, and for human rights.
* Helen Clark is the United Nations Development Programme administrator for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.