Free and Equal

UN Launches Global Campaign for LGBT Equality

Wading into a subject that is controversial among its own members, the United Nations has announced that it is launching a new worldwide campaign to promote LGBT rights. The effort, called Free & Equal, will use videos, social media and celebrity appearances throughout the world to fight prejudice, which can be fatal, against the LGBT community.

“Changing attitudes is never easy… It begins with often difficult conversations,” said Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, whose office will run the campaign . “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.”

“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,” Pillay said. “Yet it’s still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.”

The announcement was made in South Africa, Pillay’s home country. While marriage equality is legal there, antigay violence remains a widespread problem. Still, the country is a model for the rest of Africa.

The UN has its work cut out for it. It can begin by focusing on Russia, where the Putin regime has made homophobia a cornerstone of its social policy. If the UN can make headway there, everything else will be a piece of cake.

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