WATCH: United Nations ‘Free & Equal’ campaign video marking #IDAHOT2015

In at least 76 countries around the world, loving someone of the same sex is illegal and, in ten countries, it is even punishable by death.  In many more countries citizens are denied their right to live as their preferred gender identity.

As well as legal discriminations, social homophobia, biphobia and transphobia daily serve to deny millions of people across the world their basic human dignity. International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to this issue.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.  IDAHOT is now celebrated in more than 130 countries.

It has received official recognition from international institutions such as the European Parliament. Most United Nations agencies also mark IDAHOT with specific events.  LGBTI organizations, governments, cities, human rights organizations, corporations and celebrities have all taken action on May 17th to:

  • draw media attention to the issue of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
  • demand attention from policymakers and engage in lobbying activities
  • network with like-minded organizations and develop new partnerships, at home or beyond.

This year, the United Nations Human Rights Office ‘Free And Equal’ campaign has released this video called ‘Faces’, which asks: ‘Can you see past the label?’

The Free And Equal website explains the video’s message:

Let’s celebrate the contributions that millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people make to families and local communities around the world! There are no actors in this video, only real people filmed in their workplaces and homes – among them, a firefighter, a police officer, a teacher, an electrician, a doctor, and a volunteer, as well as prominent straight ally UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

It features the song Brave by Sara Bareilles, with lyrics that are very appropriate for the spirit of this occasion:

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

What will you to do speak up against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia?

Why not start by sharing this video to support human rights for all.

Visit the IDAHOT official website.

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