HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Diya TV) — Bollywood star and global human rights activist Celina Jaitly will be honored with the Harvey Milk Foundation’s Lilla Watson Global Champion Medal during their second annual Diversity Gala this week.
The event is co-hosted by the Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park, and coincides with celebrations around the globe for Harvey Milk Day (May 22), an official state holiday in California that celebrates Milk’s enduring legacy of hope and example of courage.
Jaitly is being honored for her steadfast efforts in advocating for the support of the LGBT movement in India. The award-winning Bollywood actress, former Miss India winner and Miss Universe runner-up is an official champion of the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized with this medal from the Harvey Milk Foundation,” Jaitly said.
“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 has been one of the country’s most outspoken advocates against the criminalization of same-sex relationships in the world’s largest democracy. In 2013, the Indian Supreme Court reinstated a colonial-era law banning same sex relationships.
“Celina Jaitly is one in a million – a huge Bollywood star and a leading light in the global movement for LGBT equality,” said Charles Radcliffe, Chief, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “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.”