In 2006, a group of self-appointed “human-rights experts” met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and developed the set of principles, the purpose of which was to pressure governments to grant special protections to persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Since then the changes recommended in the Yogyakarta Principles have received support from various sources.
On Dec. 6, in a speech in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put the full weight of the Obama administration behind the “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) demands, announcing “a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world.” Clinton also issued a threat that U.S. “foreign assistance” could be tied to a government’s support of “LGBT rights.” U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon recently also supported the LGBT demands.
In November of 2011 a report entitled “Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” was issued by the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, which incorporated most of the “LGBT” demands found in the Yogyakarta Principles. This March, the U.N. Human Rights Council sponsored a discussion of the report in Geneva.
Only those who supported the “LGBT” demands were allowed to make presentations. In protest, ambassadors from the Organization of Islamic Countries and the Arab Group staged a walkout. Before leaving, Saeed Sarwar, the Pakistani delegate, told the group: “The OIC member states would like to record their consistent and firm opposition to the subject under discussion.” Other countries, including the Russian Federation, some African nations, as well as the Holy See, also opposed the “LGBT” demands.
While those pushing for the change speak of unprovoked violence against sexual minorities, the changes demanded address more than bodily harm. Those defending family and religious freedom know that at the U.N. even the most innocent-sounding language with even the most apparently limited application once adopted into an internationally recognized document can be infinitely expanded to something that is totally contrary to the intention of those who approved the change. They are, therefore, extremely wary of approving any new language, no matter how seemingly benign. Concern in this case is justified, since the supporters of the addition of “sexual orientation and gender identity” have laid out their ultimate objectives in the Yogyakarta Principles. For example:
Principle 3 calls on governments to change legal documents to reflect a person’s “self-defined gender identity,” whether or not the person has been surgically altered to resemble the other sex.
Self-defined gender identity would cover men and women who have been surgically altered to resemble the sex they were not born as, as well as those who simply want to dress in public as the other sex and even those who insist that they not be labeled male or female. Governments would be forced to change birth certificates and other documents, even for those who had not been surgically altered. It also would allow the so-called sex-change process to begin before puberty, allowing troubled children to attend elementary school as the other sex.
Some men who want to be women are attracted to other men and want to marry them, which would be a “same-sex marriage.” Likewise, some women want to be recognized as male and marry women. There is another group of men, labeled by some as “autogynephiles” (men who are in love with the image of themselves as a woman). These men are sexually aroused by secretly dressing in women’s clothing, while outwardly living as normal males, marrying and having children. Later in life their desire to resemble a woman becomes stronger, and they seek surgical alteration; however, some continue to be attracted to women and label themselves “lesbians.”
The Catechism teaches: “Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reason, directly intended amputations, mutilations and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law” (2297).
Pope Benedict XVI reinforced this teaching in Genesis in an Advent address to the Curia in 2008 when he stated that God’s creation of male and female is a gift, and the Pope criticized those who would alter it.
“It is a question here of faith in the Creator and of listening to the language of creation, the devaluation of which leads to the self-destruction of man and therefore to the destruction of the same work of God.”
Principle 5 of the Principles: “Impose appropriate criminal penalties for violence, threats of violence, incitement to violence and related harassment based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of any person or group of persons in all sphere of life, including the family.” There are already laws against violence that should be enforced, but sexual minorities are very quick to accuse anyone who opposes their agenda of harassment. Simply reading Scriptures on sexual sin has been treated in some jurisdictions as “inciting to violence.” This principle also calls for “awareness-raising to combat prejudices that underlie violence.” Such campaigns create intolerance against Christians who express disapproval of the “LGBT” agenda.
Principle 16: “Ensure that education methods, curricula and resources serve to enhance understanding of and respect for, inter alia, diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.” Such teaching necessarily demeans religious teachings and violates the rights of parents to control the education of their children.
Principle 19: “Ensure that notions of public order, morality, public health and public security are not employed to restrict, in a discriminatory manner, any exercise of freedom of opinion or expression that affirms diverse sexual orientation or gender identities.” This would, among other things, prevent governments from setting up dress codes or restricting grossly immodest “gay parades.”
Principle 24 redefines the “right to found a family” to include “access to adoption or assisted procreation (including donor insemination) without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This “right” has been used to force religion-based agencies out of the adoption business in Massachusetts, Illinois and Great Britain.
Principle 29 calls for legal accountability of “those directly or indirectly responsible” for violations of human-rights violations, as defined in the Principles. Of concern is the word “indirectly.” This reasoning has already been used to accuse ministers who preach against specific sexual sins of indirectly causing violence against sexual minorities, even when the perpetrators had never been in the church.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s representative to the United Nations, issued a statement on the 2011 report from the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. While condemning violence and unjust discrimination against any person, the Holy See opposed the use of the categories “sexual orientation and gender identity,” according to Archbishop Tomasi:
“… the term ‘gender’ [as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court] refers to the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society. The term ‘gender’ does not indicate any meaning different from the above. Thus, the Holy See notes that the categories ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ find no recognition or clear and agreed definition in international law. Any requirement for states to take such terms into account in their efforts to promote and implement fundamental human rights could result in serious uncertainty in the application of law and undermine the ability of states to enter into and enforce new and existing human-rights conventions and standards.”
The commissioner’s report condemns “homophobic and transphobic attitudes” and “heteronormative gender identity.” This represents a clear challenge not only to freedom of religion, but also to those who believe, based on natural law, in the differences between men and women, traditional marriage and in the impossibility of changing sex.
Dale O’Leary is a freelance writer and lecturer. She is the author of many articles and the book The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality and One Man, One Woman. She has made national and international appearances on television and radio. She currently resides in Florida.