CBST Goes to the United Nations!
This past Tuesday, December 11th , the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the United Nations joined together to celebrate the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They acknowledged this occasion by holding a panel dedicated to the newest, and long overdue, frontier of human rights recognition within the UN: LGBT human rights.
The panel was entitled Leadership in the Fight Against Homophobia and CBST was thrilled to have two of our own staff, Evan Davidoff and Jordan Rubenstein, there to represent us on this historic occasion. It was not long ago when IGLHRC couldn’t even get consultative status at the United Nations due to being a group that worked for the human rights of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Now, here they were holding a conference acknowledging the growing presence of LGBT civil society within the UN structure and the importance of member states fully protecting and implementing these rights in their own society.
The United Nations couldn’t make more clear how seriously as an organization they are taking the implementation and recognition of LGBT rights as human rights. The conference was opened by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who gave more than an endorsement of, but his own personal commitment to, the fight to eradicate homophobia and transphobia around the globe by stating “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They too are born free and equal. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.”
The panel also included human rights defenders Blas Radi (Argentina), Olena Schevchenko (Ukraine), and Gift Trapence (Malawi) and celebrity guests Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Ricky Martin. The conference room was filled to capacity with over 300 guests. Sitting in the room you could feel the momentousness of the occasion and the energy of a global LGBT community ready to take their individual local lessons in social justice advocacy to a global scale. It was an honor for CBST to be able to be a part of this celebration of the advances recently made within the LGBT human rights community. Perhaps even more importantly it was a great opportunity for us to simultaneously gain and share knowledge of social justice within the LGBT community with those around the world.