Table 3: LGBTI Health and the Right to Bodily Integrity

Examples of Human Rights Violations 

  • A transsexual or transgender person is raped or assaulted by police.
  • A lesbian is raped by family friends to “make her straight”.
  • The police fail to investigate beatings and sexual assaults of men having sex with men.
  • Schools fail to protect students from attacks for sexual or gender non-conformity.
  • A transgender person is sterilized against his or her will.
  • Forced anal exams of men who have sex with men (MSM) as part of arrest procedure.
  • Transgendered person is denied services or insurance coverage for services such as hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery.

Note On Bodily Integrity in International and National Treaties
The right to bodily integrity is not explicitly set out in the Yogyakarta Principles, but is implicitly included in the right to life, right to security of the person, freedom from torture and cruel, degrading treatment and right to highest attainable standard of health, which are included in the Yogyakarta Principles.

The right to bodily integrity is not specifically recognized under the ICCPR or ICESCR, but has been interpreted to be part of the right to security of the person, to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Similarly, the right to bodily integrity is not specifically recognized in CEDAW, although CEDAW has been widely interpreted to include the right to protection from violence against women.

Other Interpretations

WG Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: An aspect of disappearances that has been underreported in the past and continues at the present time relates to the way in which acts of disappearance are perpetrated in conjunction with other gross violations, with targets drawn from among the most vulnerable groups in society…Common examples include: disappearances, combined with ‘social cleansing,’ the urban poor, the unemployed, and the so-called ‘undesirables,’ including prostitutes, petty thieves, vagabonds, gamblers and homosexuals as the victims.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (August 15, 2013), http://oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2013/060.asp:

The Inter-American Commission urges States to take all necessary measures to apply due diligence in preventing, investigating and sanctioning violence against LGTBI persons, regardless of whether it occurs in the family, the community, or the public sphere, including education and health facilities. This includes the adoption of policies and public campaigns to promote awareness and respect for the human rights of LGTBI persons, in all sectors, including the educational and family settings, as a means to combat the prejudices that underlie violence related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Finally, the Commission urges States to take action to prevent and respond to these human rights violations and to ensure that LGTBI persons can effectively enjoy their right to a life free from discrimination and violence.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (October 29, 2012), http://oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2012/129.asp:

The Commission continues to receive information on killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and other forms of violence and exclusion against lesbians, gays, and trans, bisexual, and intersex persons. In addition, the Commission notes that problems exist in the investigation of those crimes, which involve, in part, failures to open lines of investigation into whether the crime was committed by reason of the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The ineffectiveness of the state response fosters high rates of impunity, which in turn lead to the chronic repetition of such crimes, leaving the victims and their families defenseless.

The IACHR urges the States to take action to prevent and respond to these human rights abuses and to ensure that LGTBI people can effectively enjoy their right to a life free from discrimination and violence, including the adoption of policies and public campaigns and the amendments necessary to bring laws into line with the inter-American instruments on human rights.

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2001), No. 126: Stated that Every competent patient…should be given the opportunity to refuse treatment or any other medical intervention. Any derogation from this fundamental principle should be based upon law and only relate to clearly and strictly defined exceptional circumstances.