Yesterday, India movie and music scene made a stand by embracing gay couples in a new Bollywood video. In support of LGBTI equality around the world, the UN’s Free & Equal campaign releases a new music video to encourage change in India.
Free & Equal is an initiative by the United Nations Human Rights Office’s to push for LGBT rights around the world. The video stars actress and former Miss India Celina Jaitly, who last year was nominated as a UN equality champion for her support of LGBT equality.
‘It is an honor to partner with the United Nations on the incredibly timely and important Free & Equal campaign. I have been working for LGBT rights for many years, and I am honored to contribute my musical debut to such a good cause. Music is a universal language. It can engage people’s passion, and that’s when good things happen.’
Sadly, the video comes after India’s Supreme Court’s decision to re-criminalise homosexuality in December 2013. The Supreme Court caused a global outcry by re-installing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, originally enacted in 1860 by the British colonial regime, to criminalise gay or lesbian sex, punishable with life imprisonment.
Numerous human rights groups and activists have protested the decision, with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear a contest in court this month.
‘LGBT people have historically been marginalized and subjected to discrimination and violence in India, as elsewhere. But change is coming. In the past few months we have seen an unprecedented level of public debate relating to the rights of LGBT people. As awareness grows, attitudes will change. We need to do all we can to hasten change by challenging the myths and misinformation that get in the way of understanding. That is what this campaign is all about.’
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights