U.N. Human Rights Official: Christians ‘Misuse Religious Narratives’ to Deny Minors Transgender Surgeries
A United Nations expert has accused Christians in the U.S. of “the misuse of religious narratives” and the “deliberate exploitation” of believers to oppose extreme gender ideology and transgender surgeries for minors — among other “egregious abuses” of LGBT people’s human rights. The U.N. figure says permanently sterilizing teens represents “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” recommends U.S. schools adopt sex education that teach homosexuality and gender fluidity, and refers to women as “persons with gestational faculties.”
The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) dispatched its “independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity” — Victor Madrigal-Borloz, a Costa Rican currently working in Harvard Law School’s human rights program — on a 13-day U.S. tour in August to document America’s “egregious abuses against persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and gender-diverse (LGBT).” The UNHRC hoped he would “bring visibility to the situation of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons” in America, which dedicates every June to a month-long celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community.
His initial conclusions, released last Monday, state that laws preventing minors from having mastectomies and hysterectomies are a “blatant violation of their right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” The report includes the term “violence” 20 times, yet most incidents he describes as violence are merely issues of disparate impact, unequal outcomes, or legislation he dislikes.
“A veritable plague of so-called anti-LGBT bills is sweeping across the country,” aimed at the “regression of the human rights of LGBT people” he writes — specifically the “recent wave of ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ laws.” For instance, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law does not ban anyone from saying the words “gay” or “trans,” but stipulates that teachers “may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.” He writes these laws, and measures restricting female sports to females, represent “deeply discriminatory measures seeking to rebuild stigma against lesbian and gay persons, limiting comprehensive sexual and gender education for all, and access to gender -affirming treatment, sports, and single-sex facilities for trans and gender diverse persons.”
At the center of these deplorable actions, which he asserts rise to the level of human rights abuses, are Christians — whom he accuses of lying about their convictions to persecute transgender people. During his trip, which was facilitated in part by an LGBT pressure group (the Human Rights Campaign), he describes a meeting with members of the Religious Left, who accused traditional Christians of bearing false witness:
[I]n Birmingham, Alabama, I met with some faith leaders who conveyed their substantial concern about the misuse of religious narratives and the deliberate exploitation of earnestly religious persons for political purposes. Similar views were conveyed to me in all meetings with human rights defenders. The legal analysis of this topic also includes religious exemptions, a topic in which I am persuaded that deliberate attempts are made to misrepresent the complimentary nature of the human right to freedom of religion and belief and the concept of freedom from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
From his perspective, extreme gender ideology poses no threat to religious liberty, and true religious doctrine has no objection to the LGBT agenda.
“It’s bizarre that a U.N. official would imply that religious Americans are being manipulated or exploited into believing that radical LGBT policies might come into tension with religious freedom. You don’t have to look that hard to find examples of how the religious freedom of individuals or religious institutions can be infringed when the government puts LGBT ideological adherence ahead of longstanding religious freedom and conscience protection,” Arielle Del Turco, assistant director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “These problems are very real, and it’s patronizing and dangerous for a U.N. official to act like they’re not.”
A growing number of court cases prove how potent a threat gender ideology poses to people who wish to live out their faith. Andrew Fox, the founding chaplain with the Austin Fire Department, lost his job for expressing the scriptural view of gender. Elementary school teacher Tanner Cross was suspended in Loudoun County, Virginia, because his faith would not let him use inaccurate pronouns for young children who identified as the opposite sex. The U.N. figure calls for people like Cross to teach “comprehensive” sex ed classes “inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The U.N. recommendations often blame the victims when they resist an aggressive federal overreach. “I observed a trend to weaponize state agencies,” he writes — citing 22 states which have sued the Biden administration over its rule “that would cut federal meal funding for schools that don’t include LGBT-friendly policies.” The president’s decision to withhold school lunches from hungry children apparently did not qualify as weaponizing a federal agency — perhaps because, he writes, the Biden administration has “exactly the combination of values, knowledge, and muscle that can drive social change.”
In one of the rare instances of actual violence, the U.N. recommendations note that LGBT people are more likely to suffer intimate partner violence from someone they love than their heterosexual counterparts. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that bisexual women encounter intimate partner violence at higher rates than other populations,” Madrigal-Borloz writes. “In the 2015 United States Transgender Survey, more than half of respondents reported having experienced intimate partner violence.” Studies show 35% of heterosexual women suffer domestic violence, compared with 40% of women who identify as lesbian, 54% of individuals who identify as transgender and non-binary, and 60% of those who identify as bisexual.
He also hails Harvey Milk, who had numerous relationships with teenage boys, for helping “shape the fight for equality,” and celebrates the Stonewall riots, where individuals in drag who identified as homosexual tried to set police officers on fire.
He also called the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade “a [decision] that is already impacting women’s health and lives,” and “a devastating action for the human rights of lesbian and bisexual women, as well as trans men and other gender diverse persons with gestational faculties.” (Emphasis added.)
Despite focusing his 10-page recommendations exclusively on abortion and LGBT issues, the United Nations does not elevate these concerns to the level of human rights abuses. “The U.N. should get back to the roots of the international human rights project as articulated in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They should focus their efforts on protecting the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of opinion and expression, and various other rights that we can all agree are fundamental,” Del Turco told TWS.
Madrigal-Borloz published his preliminary recommendations two days before the United Nations released its long-delayed report on the People’s Republic of China. That report recorded the communist nation’s “interlocking pattern of severe and undue” human rights violations, including “allegations of torture, sexual violence, ill-treatment, forced medical treatment, as well as forced labour and reports of deaths in custody.” China sits on the U.N. Human Rights Council, alongside Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, and Pakistan.
Madrigal-Borloz will present his final report next June in Geneva.
“It is a waste of resources and an abuse of power for the U.N. to be criticizing the United States over state policies intended to protect girls’ sports and children’s education,” concluded Del Turco.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.