VIDEO: For International Human Rights Day, what's the role of the media in LGBT acceptance?

Today, GLAAD is joining the United Nations and advocacy organizations around the world in commemorating International Human Rights Day with a video featuring an ensemble of international LGBT leaders speaking about ways that the media can accelerate or hinder acceptance for LGBT people from around the world.

In September, GLAAD hosted international media figures and LGBT advocates while heads of state and diplomats from around the world gathered for the United Nations General Assembly. The panelists described their experiences with the media in their global contexts . They also talked at length about the efforts to make the media more fair, accurate, and respectful in their LGBT storytelling, and how that work furthers the human rights efforts for LGBT people.

The media is a powerful tool that can bring acceptance and understanding or demonization and discrimination to the LGBT community. OutRight Action International's Jessica Stern remarks, "We are completely absent from the public discourse, or when we appear, we're the butt of a joke." Geena Rocero, who uses fashion, marketing, and public speaking to raise visibility and awareness of transgender people globally, noted that social visibility and political recognition have been the inverse of one another between her experiences in her native Philippines and the United States.

However, there have been efforts to ensure that the media representation of LGBT people has been fair, accurate and inclusive. None on Record uses digital media, video, and radio, to produce fair, accurate, and respectful storytelling for the LGBT community in Africa. Program Director Yvonne Odour states, "The true story of LGBT people in Africa is not being told, and that is why we do what we do: bring out the story from the people themselves."

The video features GLAAD's Director of Spanish Language and Latino Media, Monica Trasandes; OutRight Action International's Executive Director, Jessica Stern; USAID LGBT advisor Jay Gilliam; Gender Proud founder Geena Rocero; None on Record's Program Director, Yvonne Odour; and CNN international business journalist, Richard Quest.

Human Rights Day is observed on December 10th each year to commemorate the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It has been an opportunity to highlight the work to secure rights for several minority groups, including LGBT people. 

In October, GLAAD expanded its commitment to accelerate acceptance of the global LGBT community, which to date includes lending ground support to activists in Ireland’s marriage equality referendum earlier this year, and ensuring FIFA addressed anti-LGBT slurs at the 2014 World Cup. GLAAD is currently working to support LGBT activists in Nigeria, Russia, Jamaica, and China.