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Why we fight: campaigning for LGBT Equality

17 May 2016


The United Nation’s Free and Equal campaign has launched a new weapon in its continued fight against discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBT).

The new film is called “Why we fight” and it features LGBT rights activists from across the world holding up signs stating why they have joined the fight against discrimination. The film has been released to help celebrate the International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia on 17 May 2016.

Charles Radcliffe, chief of Global Issues and Intergovernmental Affairs for the UN Human Rights Office, said the video captures some of the strength and spirit that LGBT activists and allies bring to their work, and the sheer diversity of causes that help make up the movement globally. It is also a reminder to activists that they are not alone.

“The UN stands with you, (and) millions of people around the world support you,” he said. 

While laws and attitudes toward the LGBT community have improved over the years, discrimination is still rampant and can rear up in subtle ways, Radcliffe said. Seventy-six countries continue to criminalize same sex relationships, and most still lack effective anti-discrimination laws to protect them. Every year, thousands of LGBT people are killed or badly hurt in hate crimes. Radcliffe pointed out that opponents of equality and rights for this community often fall back on culture, religion and tradition to justify denial of rights. And while these three things play an important role in shaping society and attitudes, they can never justify the violation of people’s human rights.

“It takes time to overcome centuries of discrimination and prejudice and activists in different countries are coming at this from different angles – whether it is on the courts or the streets or in the media,” he said.

And for the UN Human Rights Office, fighting discrimination of all kinds is a fundamental part of the Un Human Rights Office, Radcliffe said. This is #whywefight.

“Our Office is responsible for protecting and promoting all human rights for all human beings,” he said. “We would be failing if we didn’t take up this cause. If the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- that we are all born free and equal – are to mean anything at all, if everyone is going to have the chance to thrive, then we have to be able to accommodate this kind of diversity – or, better still, celebrate it.”

17 May 2016