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UN Head Calls for World to Embrace LGBT Rights as Human Rights, But Americans Continue to Export Homophobia Abroad

At a high-level meeting attended by United States Secretary of State John Kerry today at UN Headquarters, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to transphobia and homophobia around the world.

“I strongly support equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people everywhere,” Ban said in a videotaped announcement. “I speak out against the appallingly high levels of stigma, discrimination and violence people suffer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

He also said the fight against homophobia and transphobia is a matter of human rights and one that demands global engagement.

“We cannot back off from human rights protection just because Governments differ on certain issues. We are not here to tackle only easy matters, or to discuss only what everyone agrees on already,” Ban counseled. “We are here to protect the rights of all people, everywhere.”

In the United States, persons who are LGBT continue to face discrimination. Yet in over 70 countries around the world, being gay is still illegal and can land a person in prison.

In some parts of the world, mainly in Africa, a person can – even in 2014 – be sentenced to death simply for being gay.

In fact, in recent years, things have actually gotten worse for the LGBT community worldwide.

Experts say that this is, in part, due to the exporting of homophobic teachings from America to nations more willing to embrace extreme anti-gay rhetoric.

“The role that Americans are playing in supporting governments who roll back rights for LGBT people is disgusting,” Ty Cobb, director of global engagement at Human Rights Campaign said, pointing out anti-gay crusaders such as Scott Lively and evangelical traditional marriage group World Congress of Families have both been heavily active getting anti-gay laws passed, especially in Africa.

The anti-gay groups, predominately from the evangelical world,  are also willing to put their money where their mouth is, making their voices far more readily received than the American Secretary of State, who has condemned anti-gay laws, or Secretary-General Ban’s cries for acceptance.

Despite American meddling in LGBT affairs, though, Ban remained hopeful real change can happen if people are willing to speak out against the denial of rights for anyone based on love.

“Ending homophobia and transphobia is a great human rights cause.  It brings together millions of people of all different ages, nationalities and backgrounds,”Ban said. “Together, we can — and we will — make a safe, fair and just world for everyone, no matter who they are or whom they love.”

Photo Credit: Education International (EI 6th World Congress-EI-PSI LGBT Forum)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.