ICRW Director of Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion Speaks at CSW61

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

On Monday, March 13th 2017, the Canadian government together with ARC International sponsored a Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) side event at the Canadian Mission in New York.

The event addressed the successes and barriers for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women’s economic empowerment, and began with opening comments by Hon. Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister of Status of Women.

The panelists included a Chinese-Canadian LGBTQI activist based in Beijing, Wangshu Liam, as well as Derricia Castillo-Salazar, who is a lesbian military officer in Belize. ICRW’s Chloe Schwenke completed the panel, and she spoke specifically to the empowerment challenges faced by transgender women. Chloe made the point that any discussion about empowerment for transgender people must begin with the recognition that most trans people around the world face highly constrained prospects for such empowerment due to the pervasive lack of access to legal identity documents that align with their authentic gender identity. Even when such documents are available, the level of stigma and exclusion directed at trans persons is overwhelming, although this is based only on anecdotal evidence. There is almost no baseline empirical data available, and Chloe stressed the importance of filling this research gap as an issue of high priority.