Partnering with The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the PSAs combat the harassment teens endure because of their sexual orientation. A new GLSEN school survey found that nearly nine in 10 kids report being verbally assaulted and half have been physically harassed. The survey interviewed 6,209 LGBT students between the ages of 13 and 21 from all 50 states.
Actress Hilary Duff stars in one of the new television PSAs. Comedian Wanda Sykes is featured in a second TV spot.
The campaign's focus is to raise awareness among straight teens about the frequency and consequences of bigoted behavior in schools. The ultimate goal is to reduce or prevent homophobic language and establish a more positive, safe environment. The work also aims to enlist teacher and parent support.
All airtime is being donated by the media. MTV made an early commitment to support the effort.
ArnoldNYC created the campaign, which includes television, radio, print, outdoor, social networks and Web advertising. The TV ads feature scenarios in which the term "that's so gay" is casually employed. The spots alert teens to hurtful language, and both Duff and Sykes urge teens to "knock it off." The PSAs encourage viewers to visit a new Web site: www.ThinkB4YouSpeak.com.
"We have a responsibility as communicators to help inform a very prevalent behavior that most teens have never thought twice about," said John Staffen, chief creative officer, ArnoldNYC, in a statement. "Then leave it up to them to do the right thing."