UN: UN launches "Free & Equal" video campaign spotlighting LGBT community

New York, US (PANA) - A new UN "Free & Equal" campaign video highlighting the diversity of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI) community was played on massive screens at New York’s Times Square on Thursday, ahead of International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The Day, to be marked on Sunday, 17 May in countries around the world, this year focuses on the plight faced by young people in the LGBTI community.

PANA in New York, reports that the two-and-a-half-minute video played on the giant Reuters and NASDAQ screens at popular Times Square focuses on the contributions this community makes to families and local communities around the world.

The cast features real people filmed in their workplaces and homes, among them, a firefighter, a police officer, a teacher, an electrician, a doctor, a volunteer and two same sex parents.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who appeared in the video’s final scene, stressed the need to join the push for greater acceptance and equality for LGBT people everywhere.

Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in a video message to mark the International Day, stated: "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are now reaching new frontiers and celebrating remarkable achievements, and despite this transformation, acts of discrimination and violence continue against the LGBTI community."

He said: "We cannot tolerate picking and choosing rights in a modern society – a society where diversity is celebrated, a society where everyone, no matter where they live or whom they love, is able to live in peace and security, and a society where everyone can contribute to the health and well-being of their community."

Sidibe also called on everyone to join the movement for social justice, equality and equity, so that all people can live with respect and dignity.

On her part, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called for justice and equality for he LGBTI community, pointing to evidence that showed that LGBTI young people were overwhelmingly exposed to stigma, discrimination and violence, with tragic consequences, including lifelong trauma and self-harm.

"For instance, a 2014 study, conducted in Thailand with support from UNESCO, revealed that 56 per cent of LGBT students had reported bullying in the last month, and a significant proportion of [them] reported missing classes, feeling depressed, having unprotected sex, or had attempted suicide," Ms. Bokova said.

She highlighted the 2016 meeting of Ministers of Education at UNESCO in Paris, set to be held on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, to launch the first global report on the status of education sector responses to homophobic and transphobic violence, including bullying.

She said this would provide a review of the scope and consequences of the phenomenon across regions, with examples from across the world that illustrated a holistic education sector responses, and recommendations for improvements in existing policies.

Also ahead of the International Day, a group of UN and international human rights experts have also called on UN member states to act to overcome prejudice and stereotypes through anti discrimination initiatives in schools and public education campaigns.

The experts noted that governments must address inter-sectional discrimination and violence against LGBT and intersex youth on the basis of race and ethnicity.

"LGBT young people too often face rejection by their families and communities who disapprove of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and this can result in high rates of homelessness, social exclusion, and poverty," they said.

They said that, LGBT children were often bullied by classmates and teachers, resulting in some students dropping out, while others might even be refused school admission or expelled on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

"The stigma and discrimination LGBT children and young adults face have a detrimental impact on their self-esteem, and are associated with higher rates of depression and suicide than their peers," the experts emphasized.
-0- PANA AA/MA 14May2015

14 may 2015 20:36:50

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