Thursday, December 29, 2016
BAR: Russia, UN's Retiring Ban & SF's LGBT Protest
Back in August of 2007, there was no online proof that any Secretary General of the United Nations had ever spoken in public about the human rights of gay people.
That led Veronika Fimbres, George Duvoisin, the late and great Hank Wilson and myself to make sure Ban Ki-Moon addressed our issues when he visited San Francisco. Hank and I zapped his speech at the Fairmont Hotel, and longtime community documenatarian Rick Gerharter snapped a fab photo of us holding signs reading "Gay Rights are UNiversal!"
Very happy to live to see the UN come to the point of creating a queer envoy to keep tabs on the human rights violations against our brothers and sisters around the globe.
Last week, Heather Cassell of the Bay Area Reporter reminded readers of the zap and some of the homo history involving Ban. Thanks, Heather and the BAR, for your excellent global coverage:
"During the recent ceremony honoring departing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian leaders successfully blocked the 15-member U.N. Security Council from mentioning his work protecting LGBT people around the world.
"The Associated Press reported that the original statement by the Security Council read that it was thanks to Ban, 72, 'that women, young people, and the LGBT community have been heard and assisted, and today their voices sound louder and stronger in the U.N. headquarters and around the world.'
"Instead, members of the Security Council focused on Ban's work protecting vulnerable populations, the environment, taking the U.N. into the future, and working toward peace in an ever-changing world during his decade-long tenure.
"Ban, who steps down December 31, also didn't mention his work advocating for LGBT people at the event . . .
"African, Arab and Muslim countries, as well as Russia and China, harshly criticized and opposed Ban's work promoting LGBT rights. Ban's work promoting LGBT rights globally sparked many debates among U.N. member states, especially within the last five years.
"Ban's stance changed from unawareness, such as when San Francisco gay activists Michael Petrelis and the late Hank Wilson disrupted his visit to the city in 2007. Since then he has stood up for LGBT rights.
"He passed multiple policies internally and globally advocating for laws protecting LGBT people, established the Free and Equal campaign, and supported the U.N. Human Rights Council and the Security Council's inquiries into discrimination and violence against LGBT people."