Main | Friday, July 26, 2013

UN Unveils LGBT Rights Campaign

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today unveiled a global LGBT rights campaign at a meeting in South Africa.  The campaign is called Free & Equal.
The multi-pronged campaign — announced at a news conference in Cape Town, South Africa — will include videos and public-service announcements distributed through social media, a new website, a series of fact sheets, and engagement by celebrities well-known in different regions of the world. ‘‘Changing attitudes is never easy... It begins with often difficult conversations,’’ said Navi Pillay, the high commissioner for human rights. ‘‘And that is what we want to do with this campaign. Free & Equal will inspire millions of conversations among people around the world and across the ideological spectrum.’’ There were multiple reasons for choosing South Africa as the news conference venue. It is Pillay’s home country, and is a leading nation on a continent where discrimination and violence against LGBT people is widespread.
The above-linked article notes that the campaign is being funded by "outside contributors" and should therefore "skirt objections" from UN member states opposed to LGBT rights.

UPDATE: A press release from the UN adds more details.
The campaign will focus on the need for both legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.  A number of celebrities with a commitment to equality have pledged their support for Free & Equal by becoming UN equality champions and helping to spread campaign messages and materials via social media. These include the pop star Ricky Martin, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly, and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury. Additional equality champions will be announced as the campaign unfolds.

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