ILGA expresses appreciation to Special Rapporteur to addresses LGBTI challenges 

Kathmandu (Pahichan) March 5 – International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)  has expressed appreciation to the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for addressing the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons, in her work.

“We welcome particularly the reports on two country visits, both containing specific sections on LGBT persons. In the Republic of Korea, the accessibility to housing for LGBTI persons is a human rights and poverty issue. During the Special Rapporteur’s visit, the government of the Republic of Korea has expressed, that LGBTI persons nevertheless are ‘outside of the focus’ of their housing policy,” the statement reads. LGBTI persons face numerous challenges when accessing adequate housing: if one partner dies, the surviving partner of an LGBT person does not have the security of tenure of their shared home.

Transgender persons whose gender identity does not match that on their ID cards face significant problems in renting a home. LGBTI youth, who are being expelled from their own homes have difficulty accessing shelters. We encourage the government of the Republic of Korea to ensure the right to adequate housing for all people living in the country, including LBGTI persons and to implement the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur.

Looking to Asia more broadly, across the continent the freedom of movement for some women is highly restricted and controlled for a variety of reasons, and men are considered as protectors of women. Consequently, it is hard for women to seek housing independently. LBTQ women, whether single or in relationship, face further stigma when they search for housing on their own or with their partners. Women who are suspected to be LBTQ can be asked to vacate their house immediately without any legal recourse.

LGBTI persons whose right to the adequate housing is violated may face further obstacles when seeking justice. Particularly, where same-sex relations are criminalized, national laws do not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics, or where the justice system is not sensitive.

We welcome the thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, but since no specific reference to LGBTI persons was made, our questions are:

  • As you have conducted a number of country visits over the years and have seen first-hand the  experience of LGBTI persons as it relates to housing, are you seeing any general trends across the globe for LGBTI persons?
  • What would be your recommendations to the states in regard to ensuring access to justice for LGBTI persons whose right to adequate housing is violated?