Human rights leaders speak out for LGBT equality


The Free and Equal Campaign is without precedent.
It is the first time that the United Nations has launched a global public education initiative dedicated to combating homophobia and transphobia, and to promoting respect for the rights of
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Around the world, lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and trans-gender people are denigrated, attacked, imprisoned, tortured, even killed, because
of who they are or whom they love. And in more than a third of the world’s
countries consensual same sex conduct remains a criminal offence. The biggest foes of gay and lesbian, bisexual,
transgender and intersex equality have been invisibility and silence. And when we don’t
identify ourselves and when we don’t speak out, ignorance prevails. I cannot worship a homophobic God. As I travel around the world meeting with
governments in many countries, I find not only a lack of knowledge on the part of government officials but huge resistance to acknowledging the rights, the human rights, of LGBT people. I oppose such injustice with the same passion that I opposed Apartheid. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights. No exceptions, no one left behind. But we know from experience that eradicating discrimination requires more
than changes in laws and policies — it takes a change in peoples’ hearts and minds as
well. The UN’s Free and Equal campaign is aimed
not only at governments and non-governmental organizations and the public — it’s also
aimed at the LGBTI community itself. Make yourselves visible. Make yourselves vocal.
Claim your humanity – for in claiming your humanity, you are enriching your own society. Together we can build a world that is Free
and Equal.

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