LGBT Rights Take Centerstage in UN Bollywood-Inspired Video

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 1, 2014 2:14 PM EST

LGBT rights, particularly in India, has taken center stage in a Bollywood-inspired video released no less than by the United Nations.

REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
People wait for parliamentarians to vote on recognising same-sex partnerships in the square outside parliament in Valletta April 14, 2014. The Maltese parliament approved a law late on Monday to recognise same-sex partnerships on a legal par with marriage, including allowing gay couples to adopt. The law was greeted by wild celebrations by some 1,000 people in a square just outside parliament in Valletta, the capital of the predominantly Roman Catholic Mediterranean island where divorce was only legalised two years ago. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

On Wednesday, the United Nations Human Rights Office launched a self-produced music video with a Bollywood-theme promoting LGBT equality and rights around the world. 

Titled "The Welcome," the video featured the vocal talents of Bollywood actress and former Miss India Celina Jaitly. The colourful clip tells the story of a young man who introduces his boyfriend to his family in India for the first time.

The Bollywood-style video was also accompanied by an appeal from Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, to end the prejudice against the LGBT community that forces them to live in fear or hide in shame.

India in 2013 reinstated its ban on homosexuality. LGBT people have historically been marginalized and subjected to discrimination and violence in India, as elsewhere. "But change is coming," High Commissioner Navi Pillay said during the launch of the video.

Ms Jaitly hoped the "The Welcome" will help move perceptions of the LGBT community.

"Either it is making fun of gay people or it is extremely serious, related only to HIV," she said. "We have to move away from stereotypes... We need to show that it is an inherent trait in everyone to love someone of their choice, and that we must all accept and welcome that without prejudice."

Mr Ban Ki-moon appealed for an end to the discrimination, abuse and violent attacks that characterize this deplorable human tragedy.

"Today the United Nations and our partners issue a call to action: For an end to criminalization, for effective legal protection against discrimination, and for all members of our human family to be treated with the compassion, respect and dignity they deserve."

The two-and-a-half-minute clip can be seen here.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi / )
People wait for parliamentarians to vote on recognising same-sex partnerships in the square outside parliament in Valletta April 14, 2014. The Maltese parliament approved a law late on Monday to recognise same-sex partnerships on a legal par with marriage, including allowing gay couples to adopt. The law was greeted by wild celebrations by some 1,000 people in a square just outside parliament in Valletta, the capital of the predominantly Roman Catholic Mediterranean island where divorce was only legalised two years ago. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
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