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NEW YORK – An award-winning public service announcement targeting anti-LGBT language among teens will be aired at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during this Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI.
The airtime for the "Think Before You Speak" PSA, created by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) and The Ad Council, was made possible by an in-kind donation to GLSEN by Toronto-based Grazie Media. The PSA will be displayed on a video billboard positioned directly in front of the stadium and will be seen by attendees as they enter the venue.
“GLSEN is thrilled to share the Think Before You Speak campaign’s message of respect with tens of thousands of football fans attending the Super Bowl this year,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN executive director. “The PSA campaign featuring Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and the NBA’s Grant Hill has already reached millions of Americans across the country and we are truly grateful for this opportunity to increase awareness among a new kind of audience about the negative impact of anti-gay slurs.”
“Think Before You Speak” features humorous TV PSAs with celebrities interrupting teenagers who use the term "that’s so gay."
According to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate survey, three-quarters of LGBT students hear slurs such as “fa*got” or “d*ke” frequently or often at school and 9 in 10 report 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 simply a part of the teens’ vernacular.
Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt forms of harassment.
“At one of the biggest sport stages around the world, the Super Bowl is a massive outlet to send a message,” said Vanessa Wojtala, Grazie Media director of programming, events. “Our organization feels that GLSEN’s presence at the Super Bowl is a wonderful way to raise awareness about the Think Before You Speak campaign.”
Grazie Media has also provided GLSEN’s “Think Before You Speak” campaign with additional airtime at a major national sporting event to be announced soon by GLSEN.
The PSA campaign is complemented by an interactive website that enables youth, educators, parents and athletic coaches to take action to ensure a safer and more welcoming environment for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
The campaign has garnered widespread media coverage, including CNN, ABC’s “The View,” “Entertainment Tonight,” ESPN, Newsweek, The New York Times, Forbes, Gawker and PerezHilton.com. Bill O’Reilly of FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” even referred to Hilary Duff as a “Patriot” during his “Patriots and Pinheads” segment for her work on the PSA.
Ad Council research found that strong awareness of the “Think Before You Speak” campaign among teens has demonstrated a significant shift in key attitudes and behaviors regarding the use of anti-LGBT slurs such as “that’s so gay.”
Findings from surveys conducted by the Ad Council after the first year of the campaign of teens aged 13-16 suggest that a higher percentage of teens think that people should not say “that’s so gay” for any reason (38% in 2009 vs. 28% in 2008) and a higher percentage also report “never” saying “that’s so gay” when something is stupid or uncool (28% in 2009 vs. 18% in 2008).
“GLSEN is thankful for the generous support of Grazie Media and the continued partnership with the Ad Council to help us bolster our awareness-raising efforts of how the casual use of phrases like ‘that’s so gay’ contributes to hostile school climates,” said Byard. “We know that our campaign’s message has resonated with young people across the country, and we are confident that it will continue to make headway in ending anti-gay name-calling, bullying and harassment.”