Almost 90% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation. These teens experience homophobic harassment throughout the school day, creating an unsafe atmosphere. Remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard. The Ad Council believes these slurs are often unintentional. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.
This campaign aims to raise awareness 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; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior.
Priscilla Natkins is Executive Vice President at The Ad Council. She says anti-gay language used by teens is usually not meant to be harmful.
“What kids don’t realize, when they harass, or use these phrases that they think they’re innocent, they’re benign, they’re part of their vernacular, that their words have power and a sting,” she said.