United Nations Free & Equal Campaign Launches New Series of Public Service Announcements, Starting with a Message from NBA Player Jason Collins

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The PSA series will feature sports stars, celebrities and human rights activists advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

It’s absolutely insane to criminalize someone for being who they are in regards to sexual orientation, or gender identity. - Jason Collins

Today, the United Nations Free & Equal campaign, the UN’s first-ever campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, released the first in a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring celebrities and activists talking about the challenges facing LGBT and intersex people around the world. In the new PSA, Jason Collins, the first openly-gay NBA player, talks about the criminalization of LGBT people around the world. In some 77 countries, the criminal law is used to punish people for consensual same-sex conduct – in many of these transgender persons are also targeted using laws banning cross dressing.

In the PSA Collins says, “It’s absolutely insane to criminalize someone for being who they are in regard to sexual orientation, or gender identity. It’s on the same level for me as discriminating against someone because of race. So for me it’s very important to come to the United Nations and take part in something that’s going to lead where all of us can be free and equal.”

The video can be viewed here: http://www.unfe.org/jason-collins.

Commenting on the announcement, Charles Radcliffe of the UN human rights office said, “Ban Ki-moon recently described sports stars who speak out against discrimination as ‘heroes to the United Nations’. Well, Jason is just such a hero. His decision to talk publicly about being gay sends a powerful, positive message to sport fans and people around the world — including many young people coming to terms with their own sexuality. We are thrilled to have his support for the UN’s Free & Equal campaign.”

Over the course of the coming weeks, Free & Equal will release additional PSAs in support of the rights of LGBT and intersex people from athletes, celebrities and human rights activists including tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Bollywood actors Imran Khan and Celina Jaitly, and intersex rights activist Hida Viloria.

Free & Equal aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and encourage greater respect for the rights of LGBT people everywhere. The campaign was launched by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in Cape Town, South Africa on 27 July 2013.

The footage of Jason Collins was recorded at a recent UN event organized by the UN’s LGBT Core Group with the support of UN Free & Equal, United for Equality in Sports and Entertainment and Global Action Initiatives.

For further information and media requests, please contact:

Jackie Yodashkin, Free & Equal campaign: +1 917-620-4502/ jackie(at)unfe(dot)org

Follow the Free & Equal campaign on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/free.equal

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/free_equal

Learn more about the Free & Equal campaign at http://www.unfe.org.

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Free & Equal is an initiative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) implemented in partnership with the Purpose Foundation – a leader in building global, social media-driven campaigns on human rights-related issues.

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Jackie Yodashkin
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