U.S. officials and human rights groups have criticized Pillay for her record of failing to address some of the world’s worst abusers. U.S. congressmen called on the Obama administration to oppose the recent two-year extension of her term for being soft on human rights abusers. Human rights groups publicly denounced Pillay in 2010 for bowing to pressure from China and declining to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for incarcerated political dissident Liu Xiaobo.
The U.S. nearly blocked Pillay’s reappointment as High Commissioner two weeks ago and expressed criticism of her performance on human rights abuses unrelated to abortion or homosexuality. The Obama administration agreed to a compromise deal where Pillay would serve only two years instead of four. U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said of Pillay’s extension, “The UN is poised for two more years of sham human rights protection.” Officials in the Bush administration raised concern when Pillay was originally proposed for the position four years ago because she supports abortion.
The video was posted by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights on May 7, coinciding with the “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia” on May 17. Created by a Canadian university lecturer in 2004, the initiative distinguishes itself from LGBT Pride Day. Its theme this year was “Fighting homophobia and transphobia IN and THROUGH education.”
LGBT Pride Day is marked by marches to publicize people who are proud to engage in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behavior. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) intends to make “homophobia” shameful and something that “must be deconstructed in its social logic and fought against openly” in institutions, schools and neighborhoods.
Other UN agencies and governments marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with statements or initiatives focused on schoolchildren.
UNESCO released a lesson plan with activities targeted at primary and secondary age children (6 to 13 years old) to question masculine and feminine traits and discuss same-sex attractions and bullying.
Member of the European Parliament released a video of politicians stating “It Gets Better” in 17 languages, inspired by an anti-bullying campaign begun by sex columnist Dan Savage. Savage, an American homosexual activist, recently bullied Christian students for walking out of his profanity-laced speech against bullying when he attacked the Bible.
U.S. State Department official Anne Richard gave a speech on “the plague of homophobia” on May 17, saying, “LGBT refugees and asylum seekers are a priority population of concern for the United States.”
Homophobia and transphobia are defined by advocates as hatred expressed towards people who are, or believed to be, homosexual or transgender. Advocates consider them forms of gender-based violence.