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date: 21 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Recent studies show that global attitudes toward LGBTQ persons, including youth, have improved. Nonetheless, discrimination, rejection, and violence in law and policy still prevail. Sadly for LGBTQ youth, these realities occur in the family, schools, places of worship, and society. International human rights law, especially the best interests of the child (BIOC) mandate of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), provides LGBTQ youth protections against attitudes and aggressions they confront in these venues simply because of their sexuality or gender identity. This mandate can be read to protect/address LGBTQ youth’s interests in contexts of conflicts at school, at home, or at places of worship by specifying that states parties need to ensure that the institutions, services, and facilities responsible for caring for or protecting children conform to standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of health and safety and in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as in terms of competent supervision. The CRC also protects all youth, including LGBTQ youth, from discrimination by association, thus protecting the children of LGBTQ parents, and it affords all youth freedom of expression, thought, conscience, religion, association, and peaceful gathering. This chapter puts the current legal protections for LGBTQ youth in the context of their current realities and proposes a dramatic shift in the child rights paradigm to ensure that LGBTQ youth achieve full personhood and dignity.

Keywords: sexual orientation, LGBTQ, sexual and gender minorities, discrimination, children’s rights, human rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), best interests of the child, harassment

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