There may finally be a reason to return to the ancient art of letter writing as the United Nations's post office has issued new stamps this week, which for the first time celebrate LGBT identity.
The stamps are designed by out artist Sergio Baradat as part of the U.N.'s "Free & Equal" campaign, which promotes understanding and acceptance of LGBTQI people around the world. According to the Associated Press, they were unveiled in a ceremony at the U.N. General Assembly featuring a performance by the New York Gay Men's Chorus.
Baradat, who is of Cuban ancestry, told U.N. Radio that the style he chose for the stamps stems from his appreciation of French Art Deco and growing up in Miami. "One of the stamps represents someone who is transgender," Baradat said. That stamp features a person with butterfly wings "becoming who they really are, blossoming," he said.
The stamps include two in English, two in French, and two in German and are available for purchase online and at U.N. Headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna. The United Nations is using them to teach the world that LGBT rights are human rights. Homosexuality remains a crime in numerous countries, including 40 of the 53 nations that make up the British Commonwealth and Baradat said he hoped the stamps could help fight discrimination.
"There are some countries in the world right now where not only are we not celebrated or respected, but we are beaten and killed," Baradat said, "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."
Though the stamps may be mailed globally, to be honored, all mail must originate from a United Nations post office, likely making the beautiful designs most coveted as collectors items.
Click here for more information about the U.N.'s Free and Equal campaign, and click here to register an account to purchase U.N. stamps.