Speaking for them
Celina says she has enough reason to be this vociferous in her activism for the LGBT community
In the recent past, she’s been in the news more for her staunch support to the homosexual community in India than for her films, but that doesn’t seem to bother her. Former Miss India and Bollywood actress, Celina Jaitly, has now been chosen as a UN equality champion for their latest campaign.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recently launched Free & Equal, an unprecedented global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. The year-long campaign will focus on the need for both legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.
Other celebrities with a commitment to equality who have pledged their support for Free & Equal by becoming UN equality champions and helping spread campaign messages and materials via social media include pop star Ricky Martin, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury.
Citing the example of the homosexual AMU professor who was suspended and later found dead, in a telephonic interaction, Celina says: “One’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with how good or bad a person he is in his field of study or work. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights yet it’s sad that many people from the LGBT community are forced to deal with hatred, violence, abuse and discrimination on a daily basis simply because the society is misinformed about an issue like this.”
Ask her how she plans to take her support for the LGBT community forward through the campaign and the actress responds: “Changing attitudes is difficult but not impossible and given that we live in an age where social media is this big, it’s not hard to spread awareness to friends and in turn among their circle of friends, through the press, etc.”
Expressing her disappointment that 76 countries still criminalise consensual, same-sex relationships, Celina says she has enough reason to be this vociferous in her activism for the community. “My close association with two people of a different sexual orientation from that of the model society is the biggest reason why I voice my opinion about and fight for the rights of this community. One of them brought me pain and the other blessing. My first boyfriend was a closeted homosexual who died of bulimia-induced problems. It was a traumatic relationship. The other person is from the industry and to whom I largely owe my success as a beauty queen.”
The actress has taken a sabbatical from films but says she will be back in action soon with her home production. In the meanwhile, she’s enjoying being a mother to her twins. “Before a party or a premiere, I usually grab my bag and throw my make up into it. Last week, when my husband and I were to set out for the evening, I was busy shoving my Gucci bag with baby pacifiers,” she quips as she wraps up.