World Cup 2014 is well underway and while many nations are represented, their is one group of people that are left out of the conversation: the world's LGBT population. As gay rights become an incresingly important issues, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay says that gay players should come out and make a statement of equality and acceptance in the sport. "I encourage players, sports people to declare their sexual orientation without fear," she told reporters in Geneva. She was speaking at a meeting on equality in psorts at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

World Cups in coming years are under speculation due to the apalling human rights histories of host nations Russia and Qatar against their LGBT residents. But Navi Pillay says that can change if more players come out."That's the only way they will find the right to sexual orientation accepted. They are role models, it's important to send this message to their fans as well," Pillay said, adding that it was "a shame, in this day and age", that people "had to hide who they really are".According to Reuters, "she also spoke out against discrimination on the grounds of race or disability."

"There's an increasing realisation that combatting discrimination requires more than superficial measures that do not change attitudes or address the root causes of inequality," she told the meeting. "They risk becoming hubs of human rights violations, including misuse of public funds, child labour, forced evictions, and demolition and the sexual exploitation of human beings including children in the surge of tourism," Pillay said, without naming any particular city. "Sporting events should celebrate the joy of human potential, not generate pain and abuse," she said.

 

 

Image: Shutterstock/Scott Maxwell