Celebrities Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and others are speaking out against the use of the phrase “that’s so gay” when it means “that’s so awful” or “that’s so dumb” or other negative put down. GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) has joined with the National Ad Council to launch the first national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to address the use of anti-gay language among teens. According to GLSEN:
LGBT teens in the U.S. experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. GLSEN’s new survey found that three-quarters of LGBT teens 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 recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.
The new campaign aims to raise awareness among straight teens about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior 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. 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 behavior among the target age group.
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Watch the CNN report below: