Campaign to Stamp Out Discrimination Against LGBTI People
31 March 2015 at 11:05 am
Mental health Not for Profit beyondblue has relaunched a campaign aimed at stamping out discrimination against gay and lesbian people after a new study found Australian teenage boys were engaging in homophobia at an alarming rate.
The study of more than 300 14 to 17-year-old males conducted by global marketing company TNS showed that a third of teenage boys would not be happy to have a same-sex attracted person in their friendship group.
Another 25 per cent thought it was ok to describe something they don’t like as “gay”.
The figures coincide with beyondblue’s national campaign to end LGBTI discrimination among teenagers and young men.
“Research shows young males hold more homophobic attitudes than the general public and this latest study shows that, no matter what other gains have been made for LGBTI people, homophobia remains common among teenage boys,” beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said.
“This is particularly concerning given young LGBTI people are already three to six times more likely to be distressed than their straight peers. If we want to reduce their distress, we must reduce the discrimination they face. We know that high levels of distress have a strong link to depression, anxiety and suicide.”
The Stop. Think. Respect: Left Hand campaign features a cinema ad in which a group of boys bully a left-handed teenager, calling him a “freak”, to highlight the absurdity of discriminating against people just for being themselves. The campaign draws an analogy between discriminating against someone because they are left-handed and discriminating against someone who is not heterosexual.
“beyondblue first launched the Stop. Think. Respect: Left Hand campaign in 2012, but there is now a new audience of teenage boys who clearly need to hear its messages. If we can change the views of these boys, it will benefit the whole community as they grow older with more informed and accepting attitudes,” Harman said.
“The campaign ads will run for seven weeks in cinemas, on websites and on social media as it targets young males, with the expectation it will also cut through to the broader community.”
beyondblue said the report highlights the ways in which respondents view and treat same-sex attracted people including:
- One in five said they find it hard to treat same-sex attracted people the same as others.
- Six in 10 said they had witnessed first-hand people being bullied for their sexuality and four in 10 said they had seen people bullied for the same reason on social media.
- A quarter said terms such as “homo”, “dyke” and “confused” are “not really that bad”.
- Four in 10 either agreed that they felt anxious or uncomfortable around same-sex attracted people or did not disagree that they felt this way, while 23 per cent think it’s ok to say something they don’t like is “gay” and 38 per cent wouldn’t be happy if a same-sex attracted person was in their friendship group.