UN says LGBT rights are human rights: Building a free and equal world


An unprecedented public health campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people was announced by the United Nations (UN) in July 2013. The campaign, titled “Free & Equal”, aims to build a better world for all – put simply it aims to build a world that is free and equal.

The Free & Equal campaign was conceived and developed by the UN Human Rights Office and it will be implemented in partnership with the Purpose Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that develops global social-media driven campaigns on human rights issues. Although largely promoted as a campaign to improve LGBT rights, during its launch, South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron referred to the campaign as also including intersex people (LGBTI rights).

Free & Equal has already delivered several resources to further its aim and a number of celebrities have pledged their support for this work in order to improve LGBT rights. This includes musician Ricky Martin, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly, Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury.

In the video below the UN draws attention to the fact that 76 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex relationships and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people everywhere continue to suffer violent attacks and discriminatory treatment. This is an example of one of the resources from Free & Equal.

LGBT rights: “critical right now”

During the launch of Free & Equal in South Africa the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pivally, said an LGBT rights campaign like this is “…critical right now because of the enormous human rights violations suffered by LGBT people…in more than a third of the world’s countries consensual same-sex conduct remains a criminal offence.”

Peace icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who helped launched the campaign, said: “I cannot worship a homophobic God” and South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron said: “This campaign is timely. It is essential. May it become a source of light and … may it also become … a claiming of humanity for people who are LGBTI but also may it be a claiming of humanity for people who are not LGBTI because in denying our humanity you deny your own.”

In this Free & Equal video below a mother from Brazil shares her story about coming to terms and supporting her gay son who she is very proud of.
This film is in Portuguese. To use sub-titles, click play and then go to the full-screen view of the video. Following this, click on the button with two straight lines on it, which is located at the bottom of the screen down on the right-hand side. On many computers this is the fourth button along (but it may be different on your computer). Click on this and select your language.

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