Homophobia, transphobia in sports highlighted at U.N. panel discussion

Martina Navratilova and Jason Collins on U.N. panel

Martina Navratilova and Jason Collins.

BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Washington Blade

LGBT activists this week used the 65th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the U.N. to highlight efforts to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports.

Gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts on Dec. 10 moderated a U.N. panel at the U.N. on which retired tennis champion Martina Navratilova, former Washington Wizards center Jason Collins, South African activist Thandeka “Tumi” Mkhuma, intersex advocate Huda Viloria, Anastasia Smirnova of the Russian LGBT Network and U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic sat. Singer Melissa Etheridge and Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, were among those who also attended the event.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a video that Navratilova, who came out in 1981, “inspired” him. He added the retired tennis champion “paved the way for” Collins and other LGBT athletes to publicly declare their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

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