Welcome to the United Nations. We are proud to host this meeting. It is more than just a celebration of Human Rights Day. It is our pledge to the world: to affirm that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Today, we again denounce all attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. We oppose all arrests, imprisonments and discrimination they suffer. And we recommit ourselves to building a world of freedom and equality for all.
I pay tribute to the courageous individuals defending the human rights of LGBT people. I applaud my High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay for passionately championing this cause.
I especially thank those in countries where the authorities are hostile. I am with all of you in spirit.
And I want to thank all of you for coming together to spotlight the power of sport to challenge homophobia and transphobia. Sports cut across borders and continents. Games unite people across cultural divides.
Professional athletes are heroes to their fans. And when they speak out against prejudice, they are heroes to the United Nations.
I am inspired by one of the all-time greats, Martina Navratilova. When she came out three decades ago, she opened millions of minds. And she paved the way for today’s LGBT athletes, like basketball star Jason Collins.
I am just as inspired by the many straight pro athletes who raise their voices against homophobia and transphobia. They understand an abuse against any of us is an affront to all. Human rights can only be secured when we stand in solidarity as one.
Together, and only together, we will build a world that is free and equal.