Gender and sexuality
The enjoyment of the dual rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information differs considerably for individuals based upon their sex characteristics, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. A person’s ability—or inability—to speak freely, participate in public debate, report the news safely and securely, access information, and harness digital technologies is often contingent upon whether or not their sex characteristics, sexual orientation and gender fits within societal expectations, and whether or not their perceived identity grants them access to power. Across the world, research and trends show that sexual and/or gender minority individuals have greater likelihood of poverty, oppression, and exclusion, including from spheres of public interaction and decision-making. Sexual and gender minorities face at times almost insurmountable barriers, including stigmatization, sexual harassment, bans on solidarity and pride marches, criminalisation for wearing certain types of clothing, and physical and sexual violence. These are but a few examples of what is an acute and enduring global problem – one that has a tendency to be invisible, or when acknowledged lack long-term meaningful solutions. In order to fully and meaningfully promote and defend the universality of freedom of expression and freedom of information, systemic oppression and violations including censorship, threats, and attacks must be understood through the eyes and experiences of sexual and gender minorities. The specific and unique threats they face in expressing themselves must be addressed.