UN launches LGBT commemorative stamps to promote equality
The United Nations recently released a set of six LGBT commemorative stamps to promote UN Free & Equal, a global campaign for LGBT equality by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Presented by the UN Postal Administration (UNPA), the stamps may seem like a relic in today’s digital age. However, they also serve as a permanent marker against the ephemeral ways of modern life.
The creator of the LGBT commemorative stamps
The first time the UN has issued stamps with an LGBT theme, the art for the set was created by Sergio Baradat, an artist of Cuban background.
“We live in a world where even though [developed] nations have embraced marriage equality [and] LBGT equality, we still have a far, far, far way to go, but we are making some strides,” Baradat said in an interview with UN Radio.
Baradat noted that he had been influenced by art from the first quarter of the 20th Century, and his style stems from his appreciation for French Art Deco and growing up in Miami.
“One of the stamps represents someone who is transgender,” Baradat said in reference to the stamp that depicts a person with butterfly wings. He explained that this image represents a person “becoming who they really are, blossoming.”
He further said LGBT rights are human rights, and that all individuals deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law.
UN support with the LGBT commemorative stamps
The set features two stamps in English, two in French, and two in German. These will be available at the UN Headquarters in New York, Geneva, Vienna, as well as online.
Moreover, these stamps were co-sponsored by the permanent missions of Argentina, Australia, Chile, El Salvador, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay, and the delegation of the European Union.
The stamps were first unveiled last week in a ceremony at the UN General Assembly building with a performance by the New York Gay Men’s Chorus.
“We need to change attitudes to one of acceptance,” said Stephen Cutts, UN assistant secretary general.
On the other hand, Charles Radcliffe, chief of the global issues section of the OHCHR, said more must be done because hate crimes are still too common and homosexuality is still criminalised in some countries.
Dedicated to raising awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination worldwide, the UN Free & Equal is a global public education campaign to promote the fair treatment of LGBT people and generate support for measures to protect their rights.
As Baradat said of the LGBT commemorative stamps: “There are some countries in the world right now where not only are we not celebrated or respected, but we are beaten and killed. And I thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity using art, to use postage stamps as a vehicle– using art to change hearts and minds.”