The role of LGBTQI human rights defenders in the international arena at the United Nations (UN) is a particularly risky and insecure one, especially for those who themselves identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, two spirit, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI). This article focuses on the anecdotal experiences of LGBTQI-identified human rights defenders and their work at the UN, observed and noted during a research study examining the degree of recognition and legitimacy LGBTQIs have at the UN. Much courage is required on the part of LGBTQI-identified human rights defenders who, while defending others in their communities, themselves face opposition from those within the UN who hold traditional, religious, and culturally based values, as well as a result of state sovereignty and state-sanctioned criminalisation of their gender and sexual diversity.
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