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UN independent expert's report: recognition of gender plurality and "gender education"

Published: 11.07.2023

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· UN independent expert Viktor Mardigal-Borloz has published a report on the relationship between freedom of religion and conscience and protection from violence and discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

· The report was presented at the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

· The publication is the result of work carried out by the expert, as well as opinions submitted by stakeholders.

· In the report's conclusions, the expert recommends providing "comprehensive sex and gender education," repealing laws criminalizing blasphemy, and recognizing the existence of a differentiated division of the sexes, not only into male and female.

· The Ordo Iuris Institute already submitted an opinion to the report in January, pointing out that the prohibition of discrimination, equal treatment and protection from violence are subjects of constitutional protection in Poland, which covers all citizens, regardless of their sexual preferences.  

The UN Independent Expert on Protection from Violence and Discrimination on the Basis of "Sexual Orientation" and "Gender Identity" announced a few months ago that he was collecting information from states and civil society on how the protection of freedom of religion or belief affects the freedom of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." The report aimed to conduct an objective study of the relationship between religious freedom issues and the prohibition of discrimination.

In the course of the work, the Ordo Iuris Institute also submitted its opinion. In it, the Institute's experts pointed out that the prohibition of discrimination, equal treatment and protection against violence, are subject to constitutional protection in the Republic of Poland, which covers all citizens. The Polish legal system fully protects everyone, regardless of their sexual preferences. Diversity, equality and, above all, the right to privacy and the belief in the innate, inalienable dignity of every human being, have been embedded in Polish culture and tradition for centuries. In addition, the Polish legal order does not take into account the assumptions of gender theory, remaining with the natural distinction of sex on the basis of biological criteria.

The basis of the report was based on the thesis that historically, under the guise of religiosity, institutional violence was permitted, promoted and enabled on the basis of sexual preference or "gender identity." The author of the study himself, Viktor Mardigal-Borloz, stated that "in some cases, religious narratives have been deliberately used to justify violence and discrimination - often in contradiction to the doctrine of these faiths."

In the report's conclusions, the expert calls, among other things, for member states to ensure "bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights for LGBT and gender-diverse people," as well as "comprehensive sex and gender education" in accordance with international standards, and to repeal laws criminalizing crimes such as blasphemy. In addition, according to the expert, religious leaders should recognize that "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" are diverse around the world, and that gender manifests itself differently in many cultural and social structures and practices through the fact that many cultures recognize more genders than the male-female binary.

"It would be unethical to say that one social group is entitled to more privileges than the others. We are all human beings and we all have equal rights, and therefore inherently deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of our belief system or sexual preference. As history teaches us, any such divisions and singling out of one group over another will lead to serious, senseless conflicts," commented Iga Malinowska of the Ordo Iuris International Law Center.

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