UN Secretary-General on Record for LGBTI Rights

Yesterday OutRight and the LGBTI Core Group hosted our annual LGBTI Human Rights event at the United Nations Headquarters during World Leaders week of the General Assembly. The topic was the brutal violence against LGBTI individuals around the globe, and how to combine our efforts to stop it.

Over 500 people RSVP’d for the event and the turnout was amazing – the room was packed!

Yesterday was historic because we saw the first speech by the Secretary-General specifically on LGBTI rights in his tenure. You can view the video here.

Secretary-General António Guterres recognized and pledged the United Nations’ support for the LGBTI community saying, “Let me underscore that the United Nations will never give up the fight until everyone can live free and equal with dignity and rights.”

I loved the passion behind the approach taken by UN High Commissioner Michelle Bacheletin her remarks, “There should be nothing “controversial” about stopping people being murdered, or executed by agents of the State, simply because of who they are or whom they love.”

The High Commissioner also issued a call to action to present and absent UN member states in saying, “We need to see more countries taking steps to bring their laws and practices in line with the fundamental equality of all their people.”

Kasha Nabagesera, Jessica Stern, Michelle Bachelet
Ugandan activist Kasha Nabagesera; OutRight Executive Director Jessica Stern; UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet
When I asked Ugandan activist Kasha Nabagesera “What can the governments in this room do to support LGBTI people?” She rightly responded, “We all must hold our governments accountable when they sign on these resolutions.”

We are so thankful for the great response and turnout we experienced from activists, supporters, allies and member states yesterday.

Everyone that came together yesterday recognized two realities: Although we’ve seen much progress in our cause recently, there is a lot more work to be done to enable LGBTI people to live free from discrimination and persecution; and together we need it is our duty to hold accountable actors who violate the human rights of LGBTI people.

If you attended in person or watched online – thank you so much for joining us! If you would like to watch this historic event, you can here.


Jessica Stern
Executive Director, OutRight Action International


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