Where can I find UN documents related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) issues at the United Nations?
Last Updated: May 26, 2023     Views: 31

A UN postage stamp promoting LGBT equality. UN Photo UN7195101.

The documents listed below have been identified as significant in the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) issues at the United Nations. The list is presented chronologically and is based on the published research of the UN LGBTI Core Group. Types of documents listed include: resolutions and meeting records of the General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, as well as decisions of UN human rights treaty bodies.

Additional UN material may be found by searching in the UN Digital Library: Many UN documents and publications contain words like sexual orientation, gender identity, or other related concepts: to identify these, search your keywords and turn ON the Fulltext Search in the UN Digital Library.

Secondary sources such as books and articles provide the best starting point for research on this topic. Resources recommended for research on human rights or treaty in our research guides and FAQs would be excellent starting points.


  • UN Human Rights Committee decision 488/1992 on the case of Nicholas Toonen v. Australia, concerns whether laws against sexual contact between consenting men were a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (decision text in Annex IX of A/49/40 Vol.II)
  • For more information: OHCHR Jurisprudence database


  • Beverly Palesa Ditsie, a South African lesbian activist, addresses the Fourth UN Conference on Women "on behalf of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the International Lesbian Information Service, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, and over fifty other organizations" on 13 September 1995 in Beijing (see page 150 of A/CONF.177/20/Rev.1 for mention of this statement in the official record, paragraph 26 of Chapter III). She is the first openly homosexual person to address the UN on this topic.


  • The phrase "sexual orientation" is included in the text of the General Assembly recurrent* resolution on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions adopted 18 December 2002: A/RES/57/214
  • Link to voting record in the UN Digital Library
  • see 2012 and 2021 for related


  • New Zealand delivers a joint statement on sexual orientation to the UN Commission on Human Rights on 15 April 2005 : E/CN.4/2005/SR.52
  • [note: the meeting record says 33, the website with the statement lists 32 states]


  • Norway, on behalf of 54 states, calls for the UN Human Rights Council to "pay due attention to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the President of the Council should provide an opportunity for a discussion of those issues" on 1 December 2006 : A/HRC/3/SR.6


  • Argentina delivers a statement on "human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity" on behalf of 66 member states to the General Assembly on 18 December 2008 : A/63/PV.70
  • The statement was also issued as a letter to the President of the General Assembly : A/63/635


  • The first resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity is adopted on 17 June 2011 : A/HRC/RES/17/19
  • Link to voting record in the OHCHR Library catalog


  • The first use of the phrase "gender identity" in a General Assembly resolution, is found in the recurrent* resolution on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions adopted on 20 December 2012 : A/RES/67/168
  • Link to voting record in the UN Digital Library
  • see 2002 and 2021 for related



  • In its resolution entitled Elimination of discrimination against women and girls in sport, the UN Human Rights Council "expresses concern that regulations, rules and practices that require women and girl athletes with differences of sex development, androgen sensitivity and levels of testosterone to medically reduce their blood testosterone levels may contravene international human rights norms and standards" : A/HRC/RES/40/5
  • Link to voting record in OHCHR Library catalog


  • At its 76th session, the General Assembly incorporates the phrase "sexual orientation and gender identity" (SOGI) into the text of another recurrent* resolution, Strengthening the role of the United Nations in the promotion of democratization and enhancing periodic and genuine elections : A/RES/76/176
  • Link to voting record in the UN Digital Library
  • see 2002 and 2012 for related


  • The decision in the case Rosanna Flamer-Caldera v. Sri Lanka concerns whether laws against same-sex sexual activity violate the right to non-discrimination of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women : CEDAW/C/81/D/134/2018
  • More information: OHCHR Jurisprudence database


*The term "recurrent resolution" is used here to mean resolutions adopted by a body with the same title on annual, biennial, or periodic basis; the text of this type of resolution usually contains identical or similar phrases from year to year-- the addition of a new phrase into previously negotiated and agreed text can take significant time and diplomacy and may represent years of work by activists, delegates and others to reach consensus on the language.

This FAQ will be updated as additional documents are identified.

May 26, 2023     31


Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.


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