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Friday, 02 August 2019 21:21

UN Women to replace "women" with "gender"

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UN Women to replace "women" with "gender" Image credit: C-FAM

(NEW YORK C-Fam) The UN agency for women announced last week it is no longer focused on women’s rights but rather “equality of all genders,” including LGBTIQ+. The announcement came at a UN event called “Gender Diversity Beyond Binaries.”

UN Women Executive Director Mfuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “We cannot talk about ‘leaving no one behind’ without LBGQTI+,” that panel moderator Imara Jones defined as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning or queer, intersex, pan sexual, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, and “the full range of gender diversities that exist.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka claimed “sexual orientation and gender identity” are core values of the Sustainable Development Goals, signaling that billions in aid meant for women may be redirected if UN agencies take it upon themselves to redefine the internationally-agreed goal of “gender equality” away from women’s rights.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “we push the envelope every day” on what constitutes “human rights and fundamental freedoms.” UN member States have rejected the claim that “sexual orientation and gender identity” are a part of any treaty obligation under international law.

Mlambo-Ngcuka admitted a lack of support from the General Assembly but said her agency would push until “equality of all genders becomes the norm.” She said the UN must work to overturn laws in the seventy nations that still do not sanction homosexual sex.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, who just survived a vote renewing his mandate as the UN special representative for sexual orientation and gender identity, said there are “no limitations” on the agenda. He noted this activism coming from the Universal Periodic Review, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, special mandates like his, and from treaty bodies.

“The machinery is there,” Madrigal-Borloz said, “No nation is excluded from our scrutiny.”

Madrigal-Boloz said his mandate is rooted in “freely determining” ones “genital configuration,” that is backed by a “vigorous human rights framework.”

He said every UN human rights treaty asserts the right to be unique and be distinguished from the other seven billion people in the world. That the UN third committee “welcomed” his report is proof of this assertion, he claimed.

The Argentinian Permanent Representative to the UN said that comprehensive sexuality education is essential for ensuring that “children understand gender diversity from a young age.” The ambassador chairs the UN Core Group, a collection of countries that promote LGBTIQ+ at the UN and in traditional countries. The United States is a founding member of the group.

“Once the genie is out of the bottle we cannot put it back,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said. “We need to put this in the DNA of the U.S. or UN” and “not just the administration.” She said UN Women would work with law enforcement and the judiciary to “sustain the rights” and “keep the system accountable.” In the U.S., she said, that meant circumventing the national level to “seize the space in the cities” by transforming the private sector so they “become believers.”

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile told heterosexual women and men in the audience, “We are more than you and essentially you need to learn how to become a bit more like us.”

The twice-nominated Pushcart Prize poet Ulanday Barrett read from verse exemplifying how the use of the wrong pronoun consists of violence against transgender persons and said heterosexual women and men were “not normal.”


Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D. writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute ( This article appears with permission.


C-Fam was founded in the summer of 1997 in order to monitor and affect the social policy debate at the United Nations and other international institutions. C-Fam is a non-partisan, non-profit research institute dedicated to reestablishing  a proper understanding of international law, protecting national sovereignty and the dignity of the human person. C-Fam personnel have participated in every major UN social policy debate since 1997 including the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court, the Convention on Disabilities, Cairo+5, Beijing+5 and dozens of others.