Nearly one year ago, I had the opportunity to march in the San Francisco Pride Parade just after the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling affirming a constitutional right to equal marriage for same-sex couples across the United States, which happened at the same time that the United Nations was celebrating the signing of the UN Charter 70 years earlier in San Francisco. It was a unique moment in my personal and professional life, as I celebrated marriage equality for LGBT people – a cause about which I am passionate – and the 70th anniversary of the UN, an institution I work to support every day as the Chief Operating Officer of the UN Foundation.
One year later, the UN Foundation is proudly partnering with Gap Inc. for LGBT Pride Month 2016 to raise awareness and support for the UN’s LGBT rights work around the world – with a focus on the UN’s Free & Equal campaign. We’ll be marching in parades with Gap Inc. in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Albuquerque, showing our support for a free and equal world.
While marriage rights for the LGBT community are now available in the United States and elsewhere, in too many places, LGBT people are among the most persecuted, marginalized, or at risk. In 75 countries, a relationship with someone of the same sex is a crime. In every corner of the world, LGBT people continue to face threats of violence and discrimination in their work and private lives.
Free & Equal is an unprecedented UN global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. A project of the UN Human Rights Office, Free & Equal raises awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promotes greater respect for the rights of LGBT people everywhere. The campaign engages millions of people around the world in conversations to help promote the fair treatment of LGBT people and generate support for measures to protect their rights.
Working together with Free & Equal – and with your support – we know we can continue to make progress for human rights around the globe. At the UN Foundation, we’re thrilled Gap Inc. is taking a leadership position to stand in support of the UN and its Free & Equal campaign for global LGBT rights, reminding the world that it should not be illegal to live your life as you are and to live your life with whomever you love. No life is illegal, my life is not illegal, and the UN is working to ensure that all lives are equal, no matter whom you love.
We hope you will join us in standing for equality by learning more about LGBT rights and by using the hashtag #WearYourPride.