Thank you for convening this panel discussion and for providing the opportunity to hear some very serious concerns raised this afternoon. My comments are more in the form of a statement rather than a question. As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.
As raised by some of the panellists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See's position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth. School bullying is ubiquitous and can affect anyone. But LGBT children are particularly vulnerable to bullying.
They experience higher levels of victimization and are at greater risk of being bullied at school. Interviewees recalled multiple types of bullying and harassment that they encountered at school, and the consequences this had for their safety, sense of belonging, and ability to learn. Interviewees said that teachers were ill-equipped to intervene to stop bullying. And in some cases teachers encouraged verbal harassment, or did little to stop it. Some interviewees recalled that teachers themselves made dismissive or derogatory comments about LGBT people, sometimes passing them off as jokes, sometimes being openly disparaging.
Kitts and Nevis, found himself and his boyfriend outed on social media when they were both high school students, around age His boyfriend at the time was outed when his picture was circulated on social media. He described his terror as beyond anything he had ever experienced up until then:.
Thereafter, Nicholas says, he was taunted and aggressively harassed for the remainder of his school days. Kitts and Nevis, described in poignant detail his feelings of isolation and loneliness as a result of being bullied. He told Human Rights Watch about being severely bullied in his first year of high school.
He was terrified of meeting new people and tried his best to pass as straight. He described his fear as so disturbing that after any given school day, he would return home and go over each thing he could do in a more masculine way. Nonetheless, he recalled being taunted and unable to move around the school. In his third year in high school, he came out to two friends who outed him to other classmates.
His fell into a depression. Actual physical and sexual violence, or threats thereof, are part of the fabric of everyday life for many LGBT people. Fifteen out of 41 interviewees reported experiencing physical violence, while nine had more than one experience of physical violence.
The threat of violence keeps many people in the closet, afraid of what might happen if their sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed. In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, the perpetrators were private actors, including complete strangers, neighbors, acquaintances, or intimate partners, who seemed to think they had the moral authority to target LGBT people, without fear of arrest. Perpetrators of violence against LGBT people do so with impunity because they know that their victims are so afraid of stigma and discrimination that they are unlikely to report to the police.
Interviewees said they were reluctant to report incidents due to their perception of police inaction and indifference to the crimes against them. Several said they were ridiculed by police or subjected to inappropriate questioning about their sex lives.
Respondents stated that gay men were more susceptible than lesbians to social rejection and physical violence. Amy, a year-old bisexual female security guard from St. They accept more females than males. Sexual violence is also an ongoing risk and reporting makes gay men susceptible to ridicule or further questioning by police officers about their sexual orientation, which drives their decision to keep silent about it. Bill, A year-old gay man from Antigua and Barbuda, recalled an episode from that left him with the impression that he had narrowly escaped being raped by an intruder:. I heard my bedroom door open, and at first I thought it was my sister.
All I saw in the darkness were his boots, a gun, long sleeves, and a mask. I looked up and there was a gunman over me.
I was sleeping naked. I asked him what was he doing in my house. I started to get nervous, it was silent for a moment. It took what felt like 60 seconds for him to move the gun away from me and exit my bedroom door. Why act so nough? Attacks can happen in the streets, at any hour of the day, including in public spaces and at events, such as carnival.
Arthur, an year-old from St. Lucia, told Human Rights Watch that he was pelted with stones in during carnival celebration.
As we were entering the house, a car pulled out, two persons jumped out…. I told my boyfriend to run. They stabbed me, several times, the deepest one was below the navel.
Got down on his knees on the bathroom floor for me. Never. I begin scratching at the door a little bit, like an animal, it could be a rat, it doesn't have to be me. I couldn't help it, it had to be you and I Always thought It's better to forget me Your browser does not currently recognize any of the video formats available.
My boyfriend was also attacked with stones. Charles, a year-old gay man from Antigua and Barbuda told Human Rights Watch about his first and only experience of physical homophobic violence, an episode that occurred in November It was about 7 p.
Anyone who has a moderate interest in Instagram or Twitter has thought about their handle—you think our own David Pierce originally owned pierce? You can love me or you can hate me. This population sample Phase I was recruited nationally through associated community based organizations as described above. If you love me, I will always be in your heart, and if you hate me, I will be in your mind. It featured nine photos—my family, a few unflattering selfies, that type of thing. This process of maintaining one's self-perception can be a very internalized and personal process, heightened by the invisible nature of many neurological conditions, especially when people are in the early stages and are not necessarily yet receiving the required support from others.
They took a shortcut to the main road where they encountered a man on a bicycle who seemed to be following them. The man rode past them, before turning into an alley where he left his bike. Charles and Emily separated and Charles crossed to the other side of the street, where the man followed him. When the man walked passed him again, this time very close, he felt what he described as a sharp pinch and sting.
He soon realized that he was bleeding. He had been stabbed. Afraid, Emily had run away and Charles had fled from his assailant, who began to chase him until Charles finally escaped through some bushes and hid. Charles tried to call people to tell them what was happening.
He then asked people in the vicinity for help, an ambulance was called, and he spent the next three days in hospital. To this day Charles bears a visible scar, about an inch long on the upper-right-hand side of his body. Charles described his attacker to police officials and explained that he had never seen him before and had no idea who he was. He has not seen him since, but says he would recognize him if he did. Charles had never seen his attacker before the attack. He provided a full description to the police and told officers that the assailant made homophobic insults before he was stabbed.
Police took his statement, and clothes as evidence. He is unsure of the progress of the case. He was told to go to the police station to get more information but had not done so when we spoke with him. In many cases violence occurs out of the blue, as was the case with Augusten, a year-old gay man and store clerk from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who blacked out after being attacked by a stranger in public. One time I was walking home and a gentleman stopped me and slapped [me] in the face because I was gay. I actually blacked out, he caught me unguarded.
Homophobia permeates every sphere of life for most gay men. Sean, a year-old from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said:. Gay men have routinely sought asylum on grounds of the homophobic violence experienced in their home country. Gabriel, a year-old gay man from St. Lucia, sought and was granted asylum in Canada. Michaela, a year-old artist and lesbian from Grenada, told Human Rights Watch that the violence she experienced was perpetrated by complete strangers.
She recalled an episode when she went on a beach swimming date with a girlfriend in July She told Human Rights Watch that they only hugged twice when a man appeared with a harpoon and chased them. She also described a similar incident that took place a few months later while spending an afternoon on the beach with her girlfriend. They were confronted by a team of construction workers. Florence, year-old a trans woman from Barbados, recounted how in mid-April she had taken a 5-minute walk from her house to a local store at about 9 p.
She took refuge with a neighbor who had two dogs for protection, and called the police. They arrived about an hour later and interviewed the young men who were then giggling among themselves. She identified one of the perpetrators who denied that he was involved. It is not only random strangers who perpetrate violence against LGBT people. Transgender women report being particularly vulnerable to intimate partner violence.
Emily, a year-old trans woman from Antigua and Barbuda, told Human Rights Watch about her first encounter with a suitor:. Isabella, a year-old trans woman from Barbados, told Human Rights Watch about an incident in January when she was struck in her face with a bottle, after an altercation with people from her village. She was hospitalized. Alanis, a year-old a trans woman from Dominica, recalled a series of violent attacks on her between and These included several physical attacks which led to head injuries on three occasions.
The most extreme form of violence that she experienced was being choked on the street by a stranger after a verbal altercation.
Almost all interviewees reported being routinely ridiculed, harassed, threatened, and verbally abused based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Indeed, for many the taunts were so commonplace that they did not deem it worthy of mention to Human Rights Watch researchers. Verbal abuse was so much part of the fabric of everyday life that it went unnoticed and unremarked. Most interviewees said unless they were physically confronted they typically tried to ignore taunts and insults because physical altercations would ensue if they reacted. Bill, a year-old office clerk and gay man from St.