5 priorities for 2015-2017
1. We will continue to push for new parental policies across the UN system that treat all families equally. We believe parents are parents. They deserve equitable parental leave time whether their children are adopted, born through surrogacy, or given birth by the staff member.
2. We will continue to push for equal pension benefits for all staff members. At a time when the majority of organizations of the UN system now recognize all legal same-sex unions, the UN provider of pension benefits, the UNJSPF, should do the same. No same-sex spouse of a staff member should go unrecognized. We have recently written to the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General on this. She has promised to look into it.
3. We will introduce proposals for inclusive workplaces for transgender and intersex staff members. All staff members deserve dignity and equal opportunities.
4. We will introduce proposals for inclusive workplaces for staff members with HIV/AIDS. A stigma-free workplace is our cause, and we’ll embrace it.
5. We will introduce a survey to measure the satisfaction of LGBTI staff in the UN system, and to measure attitudes towards LGBTI issues. Having hard numbers can benefit us all, staff and administrators alike.
Attitudes take time to change. Policy changes can take even longer.
What is important is that we start by changing the conversation. When we open people’s minds; when we make them see a problem where they thought there was none before; when we make administrators realize that our policies cater to heterosexuality, and not to diversity, we would have taken a big step forward. And we would be that much closer to our ultimate goals.
The UN system may rarely change overnight.
But we will continue to push for our causes until the changes do come.
UN-GLOBE is concerned that mobility, if not well thought out, can negatively impact LGBTI staff.
In many so-called family duty stations, LGBTI staff cannot bring their same-sex spouses because the host country won't grant them residency visas.
Also, some countries can be particularly hostile to LGBTI staff and their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, making their situation particularly stressful.
Therefore, UN-GLOBE calls for the UN system to ensure that all LGBTI are able to remain mobile, and that it give utmost consideration when life in a so-called family duty station becomes a de facto hardship duty station because they cannot bring their families, or they face homophobia or transphobia-based hostility.
UN-GLOBE calls for a fair process that fully recognizes and responds to situations where family duty stations become de facto hardship duty stations for LGBTI staff and their families.
For more information, please see UN-GLOBE's position paper on mobility.
See also the letter on mobility co-written with our sister LGBTI organizations in the State Department (GLIFAA), and in the European Union (Egalite), addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton.
Equality starts at home.
Homophobia and transphobia in the workplace
Homophobia and transphobia in the workplace are very real problems faced by LGBTI staff.
Homophobia and transphobia exist in all duty stations, including in New York.
Homophobia and transphobia are the reasons why so many LGBTI staff members-- despite being openly gay or trans to friends and families-- retreat back into the closet once they enter the UN compound.
Homophobia and transphobia cause stress, isolation, and loneliness.
It must be combated.
UN-GLOBE believes that part of the problem is that there is ignorance regarding LGBTI issues and LGBTI individuals.
UN-GLOBE advocates for three measures to combat homophobia and transphobia:
- Institutional support for a diversity strategy
- Trainings and workshops to combat ignorance on these issues, and sensitize staff
- A clear message from the head of the UN entity that homophobia and transphobia at the workplace will not be tolerated in any shape or form, and that there will be consequences for those who engage in homophobia and transphobia, and for managers who become aware of homophobic and transphobic incidents and do nothing.
Models exist, initiated by UN entities.
UNDP is working on a comprehensive diversity strategy that we see as the most advanced within the UN system.
The UN Secretariat is working on trainings and workshops that can deployed to peacekeeping missions.
UN-GLOBE was also instrumental in the drafting and dissemination of a Department of Field Support fax speaking out against homophobia, and establishing accountability for those engaging in this prohibited conduct. We see this message as a model. Read this fax here: Awareness raising to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) staff.
UN-GLOBE stands ready to work with all UN entities on these issues.
Equality starts at home.