Queer Declaration, Right to the City & Habitat 3

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Queer Declaration, Right to the City & Habitat 3
By: Vancouver Queer Consultation Group
07 September 2016

The final document called the New Urban Agenda will be adopted by heads of state at the Habitat 3 Conference in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. www.habitat3.org

The Queer Declaration came out of a consultation of queers and allies in July 2016, in Vancouver, Canada, the site of the original Habitat conference in 1976. See Youtube video Queer Consultation.

The purpose was to call for inclusion of LGBTI2S people in the New Urban Agenda. We ask people to endorse this document by signing this online petition.

Queer Declaration toward the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development Habitat III New Urban Agenda


We, the LGBTI2S (1) community members (2) involved and consulted in the Habitat III process, gathered with the main objective to explore ways of incorporating an intersectional lens that demonstrates the importance of including the LGBTI2S people and their communities in the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and wording of the New Urban Agenda that will be adopted in Quito, Ecuador in October, 2016.

Reaffirming the goals and commitments of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976; and the United Nations Declarations on Human Settlements (Habitat II), held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996;

Also reaffirming the importance of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Declaration, which “affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Considering that although the language of sexual orientation or gender identity does not exist in the Declaration that in the case of Toonen v. Australia, the Human Rights Committee held that States are obligated to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation;

Recalling the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in response to the UNHRC resolution A/HRC/RES/17/19, which describes that, “in all regions, people experience violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Emphasizing in article 22, “Violence against LGBT persons tends to be especially vicious compared to other bias-motivated crimes,” noting that this is especially true for trans and gender diverse people;

Welcoming the UNHRC A/HRC/Res/27/32 which calls for “Positive development at the international, regional, and national levels in the fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Resolutions such as this denote the need for continued action in protecting and denouncing discrimination against the LGBTI2S community. Also recalling the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the many international instruments on the prevention of discrimination;

Also welcoming the Paris Agreement which recognizes that climate change is a common concern of humankind, and when parties take action to address climate change they must respect, promote and consider their respective obligations to human rights, the right to health, the rights of LGBTI2S people, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, refugees, children, differently abled people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equity, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity;

Emphasizing the fact that currently more than half of humanity lives in urban areas. By 2050, this proportion will reach nearly 70%, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends, intensifying its social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental challenges and opportunities;

Acknowledging that the New Urban Agenda aims to be concise, action oriented, forward looking, universal, and spatially integrative, recognizing distinct evolving trends, regional specificity, and transformative potential, as well as taking into account a wide range of realities and contexts, cultures, indigenous peoples presence, and historical urban and human settlements landscapes, avoiding one size fits-all approach;

Noting that many urban modern cities are where a majority of LGBTI2S youth, organizations and individuals live and operate, the New Urban Agenda must look to better the lives of this community and other communities that will be most impacted by the increase in urbanization;

We proclaim the following recommendations for action:

  • Ensure that the New Urban Agenda preamble includes wording regarding the need for an intersectional lens on all government policies, programmes, budgets, staffing and governance to ensure that the multidimensional lives of all peoples are understood and included and that there is no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. An intersectional lens should be applied to identify those that may experience the most inequity.

  • Ensure the use of disaggregated data that will inform more inclusive policies and inclusion of LGBTI2S people in the development of all urban policies, programmes, budgets, staffing, and governance.

  • Recognize the unique vulnerabilities of LGBTI2S people and in particular, of trans and gender diverse people, and that both overt and covert discrimination exist.

  • Ensure that all levels of government include LGBTI2S people in Human Rights Legislation, policies for protection of vulnerable populations, and anti-discrimination initiatives.

  • Provide equitable and safe access to housing, employment, health care and family planning and education opportunities for LGBTI2S people, noting the unique challenges for LGBTI2S youth, trans and gender diverse people, indigenous, ethnic and racialized minorities, differently abled, and seniors.

  • End violence and create safe communities, recognizing that LGBTI2S people are at higher risk to be victims of all forms of violence.

  • Empower LGBTI2S people to participate at all levels of governance to create equitable, safe, socially inclusive, and sustainable cities.

  • We welcome the commitments made at the COP 21 including the target to keep warming below 1.5 degrees. We recognize that anthropogenic climate change disproportionately impacts those who have least contributed to climate change, and who have the least ability to mitigate the human impacts. We emphasize that it is essential to build resiliency within impacted communities, which includes marginalized populations such as LGBTI2S people.

  • Recognize that LGBTI2S people, especially youth, refugees, and displaced people, are often facing internal and international migration, resulting in homelessness, and require safe and effective anti- discriminatory protection and assistance.

    Sign the petition here



    1. LGBTI2S stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Two-Spirited. Two-spirited is a chosen-term by First Nations communities that expresses the unique identities that exist within their communities and culture. Transgender (Trans, Trans*): Transgender, frequently abbreviated to ‘trans’ or ‘trans*’ (the asterisk is intended to actively include non-binary and/or non-static gender identities such as genderqueer and gender uid) is an umbrella term that describes a wide range of people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from conventional expectations based on their assigned biological birth sex. Some of the many people who may or may not identify as transgender, trans, or trans* include people on the male-to-female or female-to-male spectrums, people who identify and/or express their gender outside of the male/female binary, people whose gender identity and/or expression is uid, people who explore gender for pleasure or performance, and many more. Identifying as transgender, trans, or trans* is something that can only be decided by an individual for themselves and does not depend on criteria such as surgery or hormone treatment status.
    2. People from the “LGBTI2S community” event organized by UN-Habitat Youth held in Vancouver, BC Canada on 19 July 2016.

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