Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals have the internationally-recognized human right to be treated equally regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. This right to non-discrimination extends to the equal participation in, enjoyment of, and access to, products and services, including as part of the right to participate equally in civil, economic, social and cultural life.
If businesses limit supply provision of their products and services on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, or refuse supply altogether, they risk breaching international human rights obligations against non-discrimination. This limiting or refusal could happen in a variety of ways, and is prevalent in many industries.
For example, LGBTI individuals often have particular difficulty in accessing health care services and medical supplies, particularly where gender or sexual non-conformity is criminalized. In many countries, entrenched stigma and discrimination exist in medical settings, including due to lack of training, which can lead to denial of care, humiliating treatment and harassment. LGBTI individuals also encounter obstacles to educational services, may be refused admission or expelled for discriminatory reasons.
To minimize the risk of breaching international human rights against non-discrimination, businesses should give relevant training to service providers and supply managers to combat lack of awareness, misconceptions, harmful social and religious attitudes, stigma and taboos. They should also conduct due diligence on their products and services to ensure that they do not inherently discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, whether deliberately or not.