Free & Equal, the United Nations (UN) campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, released a short video of sports starts and human rights activists talking about LGBT and intersex rights at the UN on Human Rights Day.
“When Jason Collins came out this year he got a phone call from president Obama congratulating him. 1981, President Reagan was in power, so I did not get that phone call,” said tennis legend Martina Navratilova at the UN on 10 December, Human Rights Day.
“It’s very easy to discriminate against intersex women because we’re closeted,” said U.S. intersex activist Hida Viloria. “That’s why even though intesex is 1.7% of the population, as common as having red hair, you don’t all know that you know an intersex person.”
The short video was filmed at an event called “Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia” held at the UN on Human Rights Day. Speakers at the event included Navratilova, NBA star Jason Collins, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović and human rights activists from Russia, South Africa and the USA. This year’s Human Rights Day marked the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948.
South African LGBT rights activist Thandeka Mkhuma shared her story: “On my way home, I was beaten up with a bottle, repeatedly beaten up and raped by my perpetrator. It is a common attack to all lesbians in South Africa where men use physical and sexual abuse on our bodies. Even today, my perpetrator has not been arrested. Football became an outlet to leave my fears.”
“It was Mandela who said that education is the best weapon against prejudice. It is also quite clear that no injustice will last forever,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović.
The Free & Equal campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and encourage greater respect for the rights of LGBT people everywhere.