A new national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign aimed to address the use of anti-gay language among teens in the US has been launched by actress Hilary Duff in Los Angeles.
The campaign is spearheaded by The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and The Advertising Council.
It aims to raise awareness among straight teens about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behaviour in America’s schools.
“Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens,” said GLSEN.
“The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents, because their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behaviour among the target age group.”
The campaign includes television, radio, print, outdoor and Web advertising. The TV ads feature scenarios in which the term “that’s so gay” is used casually in an effort to help teens recognise that their anti-LGBT language is harmful. The ads conclude with comedienne Wanda Sykes in one TV spot, and Hilary Duff in another, urging teens to “knock it off.”
The PSAs direct audiences to visit a new website, www.ThinkB4YouSpeak.com, where the ads can be seen.
GLSEN’s recent 2007 National School Climate Survey found that three-quarters of LGBT teens in the US hear slurs such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school, and nine in ten reports hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard type of biased remarks at school.
“Research shows that these slurs are often unintentional and are a part of teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognise the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment,” said GLSEN.