The colourful stamps by artist and UNPA art director Sergio Baradat are also meant to celebrate the diversity of the gay community and marks the first time the global body’s post office has issued stamps with an LGBT theme.
The stamps were unveiled in a ceremony at the UN general assembly building that included a performance by the New York Gay Men’s Chorus.
“We need to change attitudes to one of acceptance,” said Stephen Cutts, UN assistant secretary general.
The stamps support the UN human rights office’s Free & Equal campaign, which aims to promote fair treatment of the LGBT community.
Charles Radcliffe, chief of the global issues section of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said there have been advances in human rights for members of the LGBT community, but more must be done because hate crimes are still too common and homosexuality is till criminalized in some countries.
The first United Nations stamps were issued in US dollar denominations on United Nations Day, 24 October 1951. Besides human rights, stamp themes have included peace, the environment and endangered species.
The set of six commemorative stamps constitutes as part of the UN Free & Equal, a global UN campaign for LGBT equality launched and led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN’s principal human rights official. Available in English, French and German, the series aim to ‘celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community’.
‘We live in a world where even though (developed) nations have embraced marriage equality (and) LBGT equality, we still have a far, far, far way to go,’ explained Sergio Baradat, the artist who designed these stamps.
He added: ‘There are some countries in the world right now where not only are we not celebrated or respected, but we are beaten and killed. And I thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity using art, to use postage stamps as a vehicle – using art to change hearts and minds.’
Baradat, who is of Cuban background, also shared that his style stems from his appreciation for French Art Deco and growing up in Miami, Florida. Part of his influence also comes from art from the first quarter of the 20th century. He firmly believes that LGBT rights are human rights and that all individuals deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law.
The series is co-sponsored by the permanent missions of Argentina, Australia, Chile, El Salvador, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay, the delegation of the European Union, in addition to OHCHR and UNPA.
The stamps are available for sale at the UN Headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna. Interested buyers can also purchase them online.