International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Safety, respect and dignity for all at work and beyond

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder calls for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, saying it is “a factor leading to violence and harassment in the world of work."

Statement | 17 May 2018
© Ted Eytan
The ILO joins the international community to mark this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Standing together under the banner of Alliances for Solidarity, we highlight the importance of human rights for all, irrespective of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people doesn’t just hurt them; it hurts families, companies and entire countries. The ILO’s Constitution affirms that all human beings “have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity”. Each of us has a part to play in ensuring that this aspiration becomes a reality for all workers, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

A significant barrier to be overcome is that of violence and harassment in the world of work. The magnitude of this challenge calls for a broad alliance of partners with a strong resolve to work together to halt sexual harassment and other forms of violence in the world of work, including against LGBTI people who are disproportionately affected. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been identified as a factor leading to violence and harassment in the world of work.

With a view to stopping violence and harassment in the world of work, the ILO’s constituents – governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations – have started a process which may result in the first international labour standard or standards on violence and harassment in the world of work by 2019 when the ILO will mark its centenary.

As workers, we cannot leave behind our identities when we come to work. We come to work with our “authentic selves” and this “authenticity” must be accepted and respected in the workplace. Last year, to promote diversity and inclusiveness, the ILO launched a campaign, #LGBTIallies@ILO, in its own workplace. This year, we join our efforts with the rest of the international community to promote alliances for solidarity that assure safety, respect and dignity for all.

Let us continue to build strategic alliances to generate the momentum to stop homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in the world of work and beyond.