December 10, 2009
>’Think Before You Speak’ Campaign Takes Its Message To The Web
>Do you think it is ever ok to use the word fag, even when referring to someone who is not gay?
As the second phase of the “Think Before You Speak” campaign focuses its sights online where much of the anti-gay banter is funneled, users are directly challenged by their actions, revealing real-life consequences to the use of anti-LGBT language. Capitalizing on the interactive capabilities of the web, the campaign also grants the reader ownership in the discussion with downloadable ad banners, blog modules and slur counters for their own blogs and social networking sites.
The “Think Before You Speak” campaign, originally launched in late 2008, included praiseworthy television commericals that partnered with celebrities like Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes and amassed significant media attention. Now, as the campaign takes on the viral world, GLSEN hopes to spark dialogue within the online community that will have people thinking twice about what they say.
“Research shows that a significantly higher percentage of young people are choosing to think before they speak,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “Now we’re going to challenge teenagers once again by asking them not just to think about what they are saying, but to consider the effects anti-gay language has on young people like Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.”
According to the Ad Council, high recognition of the “Think Before You Speak” campaign among teens (41% of teens aged 13-16 nationwide reporting that they have seen or heard at least one PSA) has translated into significant shifts in key attitudes and behaviors regarding the use of anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) slurs like “that’s so gay.”
Findings from a recent survey conducted by the Ad Council in 2008 and 2009 of teens aged 13-16 suggest that a higher percentage of teens in 2009 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).
“In the Ad Council’s nearly 70-year history of creating campaigns to raise awareness and change public opinion and attitudes, we don’t often see shifts of this magnitude in just over a year,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We’re looking forward to building on this success with a new series of PSAs and online tools that will help to further raise awareness and engage teens online.”