Harvey Milk Foundation Honors Bollywood Actress Celina Jaitly

Harvey Milk Foundation Honors Bollywood Actress Celina Jaitly

Bollywood star Celina Jaitly, who speaks on behalf of LGBT people in India and all over the world, was honored with the Harvey Milk Foundation’s Lilla Watson Global Champion Medal at the gala co-presented by the Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park on May 13th.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized with this medal from the Harvey Milk Foundation,” said Jaitly. “In spite of the huge strides being made in the U.S. and in many other countries, far too many LGBT people still suffer rejection, harassment and discrimination. In 76 countries – including, my own, India – the law treats gay people as criminals, reinforcing stigma and leaving people vulnerable to blackmail and imprisonment. The work we are doing through the United Nations Free & Equal global campaign is raising awareness and challenging prejudice. It’s a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with LGBT friends and allies around the world and demand equal rights, respect and recognition. I like to think that Harvey Milk himself would have heartily approved.”

Jaitly, who is an official Champion of the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, was honored for her advocacy and support for the LGBT rights movement in India. A former Miss India winner and Miss Universe runner-up, she is one of the most visible advocates against the criminalization of same-sex relationships in the world’s largest democracy.

Jaitly wrote recently: “In spite of the huge strides being made in the U.S. and in many other countries, far too many LGBT people still suffer rejection, harassment and discrimination. In 76 countries – including, my own, India – the law treats gay people as criminals, reinforcing stigma and leaving people vulnerable to blackmail and imprisonment. The work we are doing through the United Nations Free & Equal global campaign is raising awareness and challenging prejudice. It’s a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with LGBT friends and allies around the world and demand equal rights, respect and recognition. I like to think that Harvey Milk himself would have heartily approved.”

“Celina Jaitly is one in a million — a huge Bollywood star and a leading light in the global movement for LGBT equality,” Charles Radcliffe, chief, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement. “A stalwart ally of the LGBT community in India for more than a decade, she is, today, playing a central role in UN efforts to fight homophobia and transphobia, globally.”

“Celina Jaitly is an incredible champion of human rights, not just in India, but globally, through her unwavering support of the UN Free & Equal Campaign,” added Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation and a global human rights advocate. “She is guided by passion, committed to hard work, aided by grace, and the belief that our shared journey is enriched, and not weakened, by our diversity. We are honored that she is traveling halfway across the globe to join us.”

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