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United Nations Calls on Gay World Cup Players to Come Out

United Nations Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay said Monday that gay soccer players at the World Cup in Brazil should come out and declare their sexuality to help foster global LGBT visibility and equality.

Navi pillayReuters reports:

"I encourage players, sports people to declare their sexual orientation without fear," she told reporters in Geneva.

"That's the only way they will find the right to sexual orientation accepted. They are role models, it's important to send this message to their fans as well," Pillay said, adding that it was "a shame, in this day and age", that people "had to hide who they really are".

Pillay also warned that governments bidding for major sporting competitions need to give more thought to how their bid would affect human rights in their country. 

"They risk becoming hubs of human rights violations, including misuse of public funds, child labour, forced evictions, and demolition and the sexual exploitation of human beings including children in the surge of tourism," Pillay said, without naming any particular city.

The UN's concerns over the intersection of human rights and sporting events will likely continue into the foreseeable future as FIFA’s decision to select Qatar as host country for the 2022 World Cup has come under heavy criticism – at least in part due to the country’s laws making homosexuality illegal.

There are currently no openly gay players participating in this year’s World Cup, although a few former athletes such as Germany’s Thomas Hitzlsperger and our own Robbie Rogers played in the World Cup before coming out. 

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  1. "Our own" Robbie Rogers? Towleroad owns Robbie Rogers? I didn't realize that.

    Posted by: Perry | Jun 17, 2014 11:27:57 AM

  2. I really don't like when straight people tell gay people what to do - especially when they tell them to come out. I know she's an ally and all, and I largely agree with her. As a straight woman, she's just not going to understand the complexity of that experience to encourage others to "come out without fear."

    Posted by: GJP | Jun 17, 2014 11:59:34 AM

  3. Isn't she part of an organization that voted for a Ugandan homophobe to be the president of the UN's General Assembly?

    Posted by: Stuart | Jun 17, 2014 12:02:54 PM

  4. Robbie Rogers did not play in the World Cup. He played in qualifying matches. He was cut before the World Cup began.

    Posted by: crispy | Jun 17, 2014 12:03:08 PM

  5. Meanwhile that anti gay Ugandan was "elected by acclimation" as President of the National Assembly! So, if Ugandans took her advice, they'd be jailed or killed.

    The UN needs to get it's act together. It's beginning to look like the old League of Nations.

    Posted by: Russ | Jun 17, 2014 12:04:21 PM

  6. except that the world cup is going to Russia then Quater, not very safe places to be out

    Posted by: DJSauvage | Jun 17, 2014 12:51:04 PM

  7. The UN should work on getting the next 2 World Cups located in places where there are no human rights violations that she speaks of, Russia and Qater are not safe places for gays and women. They need to help create safe environments for the gay athletes and fans. UN has no say in selection, but to speak out of the side of their mouth without directly criticizing FIFA is weak!

    Posted by: Owens | Jun 17, 2014 1:26:19 PM

  8. The UN appoints a Ugandan bigot as PRESIDENT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY; one that called gays "disgusting", and not only promoted but played a part in the passage of the Kill-The-Gays bill in its current "life imprisonment for aggravated homosexuality" form.

    But the UN has no problem asking athletes to make themselves vulnerable by coming out.

    The UN is a disgusting joke. They have no business asking gays, especially closeted gays, to do anything.

    Posted by: NapInYourBed | Jun 17, 2014 3:54:47 PM

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