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UN’s gay rights music video – an instant hit in India

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By Team FI

The United Nations’ new music video on gay rights has become an instant hit in India, despite widely prevalent social stigma and ostracism faced by the LGBT citizens of the country. Launched last month as part of UN’s Free & Equal campaign, the Bollywood-style music video is aimed at promoting equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

The two-and-a-half minute video, called “The Welcome”, stars bollywood actress Celina Jaitly who is known for her open support for the LGBT cause . Last year, Jaitly was nominated as “UN equality champion” in recognition of her support for LGBT equality. She makes her musical debut in the video, singing a new version of the 1979 Bollywood classic, Uthe Sab Ke Kadam. The song was recomposed and remixed by Neeraj Shreedhar of Bombay Vikings. The concept for the video was developed by creative agency Curry Nation.

United Nation’s Free & Equal campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and encourage greater respect for the rights of LGBT people. The campaign, which had its global launch in South Africa, in July 2013, is led by the UN Human Rights Office.

In December 2011, the UN Human Rights Office published the first official UN report on violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. The report documented widespread human rights abuses. More than 76 countries still criminalize consensual, same-sex relationships, while in many more discrimination against LGBT people is widespread – including in the workplace and in the education and health sectors.

Hate-motivated violence, including physical assault, sexual violence, and targeted killings, has been recorded in all regions. In 2014, the situation has gained greater recognition but has not changed drastically. A few more countries recognize same sex marriages, and adoption. There is also some recognition, in a few countries like Germany of trans gendered individuals as a third category in forms to be filled. However, in many parts of the world, LGBT lives and practices remain criminalized.