A series of groundbreaking Tasmanian radio advertisements highlighting the cost of homophobia has won broad backing from politicians, activists and a leading commercial radio network.
The four-part Homophobia stops with you series, believed to be the largest anti-homophobia advertising campaign yet on Australian commercial radio, went to air across Tasmania on Monday.
The advertisements detail the negative effect of homophobia on families, businesses and the gay and lesbian community, using taglines such as Names will always haunt us.
The advertisements will run several hundred times on nine stations run by major network Macquarie Radio over the next two weeks.
The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) and gay and lesbian support service Working It Out devised the advertisements after an approach from an anonymous donor.
The donation was prompted by an Australia Institute study last year that found Tasmania was the country’s most homophobic state.
The donor wanted to do something positive about community attitudes in Tasmania, TGLRG spokesperson Rodney Croome told Sydney Star Observer.
The money was given on the condition that nothing be revealed about their identity.
The advertisements are being broadcast now because we’re approaching Christmas, and Christmas is often the time when LGBT people feel most excluded from their families and from their local communities.
Activists will apply for funding for more advertisements if the current campaign shows results.
Tasmania’s major political parties have welcomed the advertisements.
Labor premier Paul Lennon said he hoped the campaign would encourage people to take action when they see someone being taunted or discriminated against.
The Liberals and Greens also applauded the move.
Homophobia affects our whole community, not just those at whom discrimination is aimed, Tasmanian Greens justice spokesperson Nick McKim said.
It is therefore incumbent on the whole community to take responsibility for its elimination.
The anti-homophobia initiative comes about eight months after conservative religious group Exclusive Brethren allegedly funded election advertisements attacking Tasmania’s gay and transgender community.
A complaint about the advertisements has been referred to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal.
The anti-gay and anti-transgender advertising [allegedly circulated] by Exclusive Brethren in March makes these ads more important, but they weren’t motivated by that, Croome said.
Meantime, Tasmanian parliament was yesterday expected to examine recommendations including stronger action on anti-gay violence as part of the ongoing Tasmania Together plan. The plan’s other goals include giving all teachers sexual diversity training by 2020.
To listen to the Tasmanian radio advertisements visit www.workingitout.org.au/Homophobia_title.html.