Update on the work of UN-GLOBE: Making a difference. Instituting gender diversity.
I wanted to give you a long overdue update on the work of UN-GLOBE. Although it has been a while, UN-GLOBE has been busy ensuring LGBTIQ+ voices are heard, and that the UN System becomes a strong advocate for LGBTIQ+ people.
These past few months, we have particularly focused on gender: on ensuring that gender diversity becomes the operational gender concept at the UN. At a time when more and more people are proudly revealing the diversity of their genders, it’s time for the UN System to stop viewing all of us through the gender binary: as either a man, or a woman.
As our Recommendations on inclusive workplaces for trans and gender non-conforming people states, an embrace of gender diversity in the UN System should be clear from the very first point of contact with the UN. For those of us who now work for the UN System, that first point of contact is often the application form. The genders we are asked to choose from should go beyond “Male” and “Female” and allow choices that capture the diversity of our genders.
Elsewhere, we have had great success in ensuring visibility for LGBTIQ+ people and issues. Case in point is the new security training that all UN Secretariat are required to take, the BSAFE training. It includes one case scenario based on the true experience of a trans-identified staff. UN-GLOBE worked with the Department of Safety and Security to ensure its inclusion as well as more information for LGBTIQ+ people [screenshots attached]. And we are thankful to them for working with us on this for a training that will be taken by many, if not all, who work for the UN.
And those of you who have taken the UN System wide survey on sexual harassment in November, you may have noticed questions related to the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people [screenshots attached].
UN-GLOBE worked with an inter-agency task force to ensure these questions were there. We did not get all the questions we wanted, which was disappointing, but given the need to keep the survey short, it was an outcome that was good enough.
These are just two examples of UN-GLOBE at work.
On sexual harassment: we will continue to ensure that all policies address the gendered forms of harassment that LGBTIQ+ often face, and which are sexual in nature. When a man is harassed for acting too “girlish”. When a woman is harassed for acting too “manly”. We have to change the gendered perceptions of others based on presentation and behavior, among others.
As always, please continue reaching out to us with your issues, concerns, or questions. The UN-GLOBE Board and UN-GLOBE Coordinators will continue to work to ensure LGBTIQ+ inclusion.
And in the months ahead, be on the lookout for our UN System-wide survey on homophobia and transphobia. And for the relaunch of our mentorship program!
Hyung Hak Nam,