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Desmond Tutu: 'I Would Refuse To Go To A Homophobic Heaven'

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Anglican Archbishop and social rights activist Desmond Tutu made the declaration during the launch of the global public education campaign called "Free & Equal," which we told you about yesterday.

The BBC reports on his stance on equality:

"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place," Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town. "I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this."

Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa. "I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level," he added.

Watch a South African Broadcast News segment about Tutu's support of the "Free & Equal" objective, in which he adds that "we should become a society where people are free to be who God made them to be," AFTER THE JUMP.

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United Nations Launches Global Public Education Campaign For LGBT Rights: VIDEO

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On Friday, the United Nations officially unveiled a global public education campaign called 'Free & Equal,' with the goal of increasing support and awareness for LGBT rights around the world. The Washington Blade reports:

The year-long effort, which the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights unveiled during a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa, seeks to raise awareness of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination and encourage what it describes as 'greater respect for the rights of LGBT people.'

The "Free & Equal" campaign will stress what a press release described as the 'need for both legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.' The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights will also produce a number of videos that are similar to the one it released in May to mark the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and gay South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron, who lives with HIV, joined U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at the Cape Town press conference.

'Changing attitudes is never easy. But it has happened on other issues and it is happening already in many parts of the world on this one,' Pillay said. 'It begins with often difficult conversations. And that is what we want to do with this campaign. 'Free & Equal' will inspire millions of conversations among people around the world and across the ideological spectrum.'

'The [U.N.'s] Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights - no exceptions, no one left behind,' Pillay said. 'Yet it's still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.'

Check out a powerful video about the new campaign's mission, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UN Human Rights Office Urges End to Homophobia, Promises 'Free and Equal' World: VIDEO

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A striking new campaign video from the United Nations human rights office speaks directly about the oppression of LGBT people and features messages from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

Says Pillay: "Every nation is obligated by international human rights law to protect all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination and violence."

Adds Ban and a chorus of voices: "The United Nations has one simple message to the millions of LGBT people around the world...You are not alone. LGBT rights are human rights. Together we will build a world that is free and equal,"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: Governments Have a Duty to Uphold the Rights of LGBT People — VIDEO

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke out for LGBT rights at the Oslo Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on Monday, blasting government and religious anti-LGBT oppression.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP....

Said the Secretary General in his statement:

We should all be outraged when people suffer discrimination, assault and even murder – simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We should all speak out when someone is arrested and imprisoned because of who they love or how they look. This is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time. We must right these wrongs.

Governments have a legal duty to protect everyone. But far too many still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of homophobic violence and discrimination. We need to document this problem and share information with States on a regular basis for discussion and action.

We must institutionalize our efforts to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We need public education to change popular attitudes.

Some will oppose change. They may invoke culture, tradition or religion to defend the status quo. Such arguments have been used to try to justify slavery, child marriage, rape in marriage and female genital mutilation.

I respect culture, tradition and religion – but they can never justify the denial of basic rights.

My promise to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the human family is this: I am with you. I promise that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will denounce attacks against you …. and I will keep pressing leaders for progress.

I am committed to leading a global campaign in partnership with the United Nations human rights office. I count on others to join us. Together, we can make the world safer, freer and more equal for everyone.

Thank you.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

It is not the first time he has spoken in support of LGBT people. At a UN Human Rights Council hearing on LGBT equality in March 2012, he denounced violence and discrimination, inspiring a walk-out by leaders of Islamic and African nations. He also appeared at a UN panel against homophobia with Ricky Martin last December.

Continue reading "UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: Governments Have a Duty to Uphold the Rights of LGBT People — VIDEO" »


Ricky Martin Speaks at UN Forum on Homophobia: VIDEO

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Ricky Martin also participated in today's Human Rights Day panel at the United Nations, talking to those assembled about his decision to come out. He added that he wishes he could come out again because of the joy that it brought him.

Martin also talked about the institutionalized homophobia he encounters every day when he is told in interviews and by fans on social media to stop talking about LGBT issues.

"People that used to listen to my music say, "Ricky stop it! Stop talking about LGBT issues. We understand. You're gay. That's it. We're tired of that subject...It brings back the fear again - self esteem issues kick in...I guess I'll use my music to talk about this as well."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's remarks HERE.

Continue reading "Ricky Martin Speaks at UN Forum on Homophobia: VIDEO" »


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Condemns Oppression of LGBT People at Human Rights Day Forum: REMARKS

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Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offered powerful remarks at a Human Right Day forum earlier today at the United Nations called "Leadership in the Fight against Homophobia"

I'll post a video if it becomes available, but following are his remarks, in full:

Thank you all for coming to this remarkable meeting. What a meaningful way to commemorate Human Rights Day. I welcome all of the activists, supporters and others here today.

The very first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

All human beings – not some, not most, but all.

No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.

The United Nations has a proud record of combating racism, promoting gender equality, protecting children and breaking down barriers facing persons with disabilities. We have a long way to go in all of these areas. But we are turning the tide on discrimination in both law and practice. Slowly, some old prejudices have started to dissolve.

Yet others remain in place, with horrendous consequences.

Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage … and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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