Today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appeared alongside international LGBT activists in a video created by Free and Equal, an LGBT rights campaign from the United Nations Human Rights Office. The video shows Ki-Moon holding a sign that reads, “End Violence And Discrimination Against LGBT People” and includes activists from India, China, Uganda, Lebanon, Jamaica, Japan, the U.K. and many others, holding their own signs.
The video features Rachel Platten’s pop hit “Fight Song” and was released a few days before the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Tuesday, May 17.
Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights — a Unicorn Booty contributor who is also a vocal critic of the World Bank — shared the images of Ki-Moon above and below on his personal Facebook page about a week ago.
Here’s the video:
In September 2015, Ki-Moon appeared in an ad from “Free and Equal” (above), a campaign by the UN Human Rights Office highlighting the UN’s work on global LGBT issues. In a speech he made at the end of that same month, Ki-Moon said:
In too many countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are among the poorest, most marginalized members of society.
We need more data to get a clear picture – but we already know that gay affluence is largely a myth. Studies show that gay and lesbian people suffer disproportionate discrimination and abuse. They are rejected by their families… kicked out of their homes … and pushed out of school. Too many of our LGBT brothers and sisters are jobless, homeless and struggling to survive.
The situation of transgender people is even worse overall. They have higher rates of homelessness, poverty and hunger.
For individuals and their families, this is a personal tragedy. And for society, it is a shameful waste of human talent, ingenuity and economic potential.
Houdart told Unicorn Booty:
“This year’s video is celebrating the courage and sacrifices of activists all around the world which are standing up for Human Rights for LGBTI people. We owe them the tremendous progress we have witnessed in recent years not only in western countries but also in Latin America and many other parts of the world. A lot more work remains to be done to end the continuous discrimination and violence against LGBTI worldwide.
I love that as the video ends, the camera takes us up to the 38th floor of the UN Secretariat Building in New York and into the office of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who joins in the sign-making. It’s a powerful gesture of support and solidarity on the part of the leader of the world body of nations – and one hard to imagine just ten years ago.
Even ten years ago, LGBT rights was something that was taboo and perceived as frivolous and today it is a central global human rights issue. A key element is of course the visibility of LGBT people in the media, in the streets and the stance of courageous leaders like Ban Ki-Moon, who said in 2013: “I respect culture, tradition and religion – but they can never justify the denial of basic rights”.
The video is of course a celebration of activists but it also sends a signal to a wider audience that LGBTI people exist everywhere in the world and what they are asking is just the respect of their human rights. For LGBT activists it’s a reminder that, whatever obstacles they are facing in their daily lives, they have very powerful allies standing with them in the fight for rights and recognition. They are on the right side of history.”