The video about a gay man bringing his boyfriend home to meet his family, was launched in India, a country that strictly prohibits same-sex relations with up to life imprisonment.
The launch took place in the Indian city of Mumbai where Bollywood or the Hindi-language film industry known for its elaborate song and dance scenes, is based.
The two-and-a-half minute video called “The Welcome” stars actress and former Miss India Celina Jaitly, who was last year nominated by the High Commissioner as a “UN equality champion.”
“It is an honor to partner with the United Nations on the incredibly timely and important Free & Equal campaign,” said Jaitly in a UN press release.
Jaitly was joined at the press conference by Indian actor Imran Khan who supports equality for LGBT people; Ashok Row Kavi, gay rights activist; transgender rights activist Laxmi Tripathi, social commentator Cyrus Broacha and UN representatives.
Speakers discussed human rights challenges facing LGBT people in India and around the world and steps needed to combat homophobia and transphobia.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a special message in which he expressed his support for the campaign and his solidarity with India’s LGBT community.
Commenting on the launch, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was delighted to see the Free & Equal campaign extended to India.
“LGBT people have historically been marginalized and subjected to discrimination and violence in India, as elsewhere. But change is coming. .. We need to do all we can to hasten change by challenging the myths and misinformation that get in the way of understanding,” she said.
Indian gay rights activists have for the past 12 years waged a legal battle to do away with the colonial-era “Section 377” law that describes same-sex relations as “unnatural” and punishable with life imprisonment.
The Supreme Court past December upheld the validity of Section 377, reversing the 2009 Delhi’s high court ruling that decriminalized it and gave the gay community broad protections and rights.
You may watch the UN’s music video for its gay rights campaign here: