International Bisexual Awareness Day: IACHR Reiterates States' Obligation to Collect and Analyze Data on Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

September 23, 2021

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Washington, D.C. — On International Bisexual Awareness Day, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called again on States in the Americas to implement policies to promote the systematic collection and analysis of disaggregated statistical data on violence and discrimination affecting bisexual and pansexual people. Its aim in doing so is to implement actions and public policies to guarantee the human rights of these groups.

The IACHR noted that bisexual people are those who may be emotionally, physically, or sexually attracted to people of the same and other genders in a fluid manner throughout their lives. It also noted that pansexual people are those who may be emotionally, physically, or sexually attracted to other people regardless of the latter's gender identity and gender expression, and that pansexuality falls under the umbrella term of bisexuality.

The IACHR report on violence against LGBTI people noted that this group's sexual orientation is often stigmatized, questioned, and rendered invisible. As a consequence, acts of discrimination and violence against bisexual and pansexual people may not be visible in public information systems.

The IACHR is also aware of complaints from civil society organizations that bisexuality and pansexuality are often omitted as sexual orientations in data collection efforts, including censuses, interviews, and surveys. In a context of a lack of state policies for systematic and disaggregated data collection, this limits the design and evaluation of effective public policies aimed at combating forms of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

In this regard, the IACHR noted that statistical data needs to be collected to uniformly and accurately measure trends in violence and discrimination and the prevalence of these. These processes must also consider other factors that intersect with bisexuality and pansexuality, such as gender, age, ethno-racial origin, gender identity and expression, bodily diversity, sexual characteristics, human mobility, socioeconomic status, and being a human rights defender or a person who is deprived of their freedom.

In this regard, the IACHR urged OAS Member States to adopt data-driven public policies and measures that contemplate the specific needs of bisexual and pansexual people in the different spheres of their lives, such as education, work, and health, including sexual and reproductive health. These should include policies and measures that aim to make their life experiences visible and to provide education regarding these, in order to prevent them from experiencing stigmatization, questioning, and acts of discrimination and violence.

Finally, the IACHR reiterated that data must be collected by appropriately trained, qualified individuals, and that state census offices and other official bodies must receive information on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sexual characteristics, while creating data security and confidentiality mechanisms to preserve the life and integrity of LGBTI persons.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States whose principal functions are to promote the observance and defense of human rights and to serve as an advisory body to the Organization in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 250/21

9:45 AM