Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nation’s independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, delivered his latest report to the U.N. General Assembly last week that should set off alarm bells around the world.
The report concludes that the world must choose between a path of “exclusionary narratives” advanced by “ultraconservative political leaders and religious groups” that perpetuate violence and discrimination, or a path of inclusivity guided by “gender theory” and human rights.
Gender theory is another woke ideology—an outgrowth of feminism and critical theory—which, among other things, considers the categories of “male” and “female” to be oppressive stereotypes.
While these U.N. reports may seem like meaningless ivory tower rhetoric, they contribute to a growing body of quasi-legal documents that legislators and even Supreme Court justices can invoke, paving the way for radical progressive policy to reenter American policy, law, and politics.
Not only do these ideas creep into the American legal body, but they also embolden those who seek to change traditional cultures around the world through ideological colonialism.
In this case, the left is pushing a radical view of gender that’s inconsistent with the religious beliefs and practices of many countries—and speech-control for those who disagree. It’s dangerous advice that undermines the idea of fundamental human rights based upon inherent human dignity.
How Leftists Are Defining “Gender” in International Human Rights Law
The word “gender” does not appear in the foundational documents of human rights law, namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
When the landmark international conference on women’s empowerment, known as the Fourth World Conference on Women, approved its “platform for action” document in Beijing in 1995, it clarified that its use of “gender” was “intended to be interpreted and understood as it was in ordinary, generally accepted usage”—that is, a synonym for biological sex.
This commonsense, biology-based approach has guided diplomats since the U.N.’s founding in 1945. It’s what they used as they negotiated and agreed to treaties and documents that used the word “sex” to refer plainly to male and female, and later terms like “gender equality” to refer to equality between the sexes. But all that is at risk if this report takes hold.
Gender Ideology Threatens Existing Human Rights
Under the guise of advancing human rights, Madrigal-Borloz is promoting an ideology that conflicts with internationally recognized rights and is opposed by many religions and cultures around the world.
He refers to those who oppose his progressive views as promoting “practices of exclusion,” but this is false. There is nothing more inclusive than grounding human rights on the firm footing of inherent human dignity, which we all equally possess.
Those promoting policies or rights based on membership in a particular identity group rely on expansive terms like “intolerance” and “discrimination,” and conflate disagreement with discrimination, or discrimination with violence.
Madrigal-Borloz’s insistence that gender is a protected category in international human rights law and, by extension, that gender identity and gender expression are similarly protected, is a claim found in the controversial Yogyakarta Principles, a project of activists to advance a radical view of gender identity through the international human rights framework.
These progressive activists demand that countries implement policies that they see as advancing their vision, such as decriminalizing consensual sexual behaviors, “sex work,” and abortion, among many other policies that most U.N. member states reject.
And on top of these radical views, Madrigal-Borloz’s report recommends applying the legal framework of hate speech and hate crimes to those opposing “rights related to gender and sexuality, comprehensive gender and sexuality education, bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive rights and legal recognition of gender identity.” This could easily describe adherents of many faith traditions.
And “applying the legal framework of hate speech and hate crimes” suggests that individuals could face fines, jail, or other penalties for saying that their faith—or even science—doesn’t support progressive views on the nature of men and women. These types of cases have already begun to appear in Western countries that embrace gender ideology.
Such efforts by U.N. “experts” to bully countries into changing their views of gender and to enshrine this view into law will cause friction in many countries, especially in Muslim- or Christian-majority societies.
U.N. delegates should reject the infusion of radical gender theory into the human rights framework and work to protect the unalienable human rights of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, identity, or any other category.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal