The ALSO Foundation and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria will launch a social marketing campaign next month to tackle homophobia, specifically targeting Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
The poster and online campaign is expected to form the largest anti-homophobia campaign of its kind in Victoria and will use football posters — recently developed by GLHV — showing young people coming out to their parents.
ALSO Foundation CEO Crusader Hillis told Southern Star Observer the campaign was important to appeal to the broader community that homophobic harassment is illegal and should not be tolerated.
“Homophobic harassment is one of those things that has been given a lot less importance … and attention than [other prejudice-motivated] violence.
“It’s about time people recognised it’s harmful and it affects people’s wellbeing and to stop it or they will be charged.”
GLHV is currently negotiating $20,000 of Government funding to roll out a starter campaign in September in suburban sports clubs, cafes, pubs and bars.
The first part of the campaign is set to run for around two months until a $50,000 funding boost from the Department of Justice is expected to extend it.
Hillis said the long-term aim is to roll the campaign out statewide with television and billboard advertising.
The campaign follows the release of the With Respect Awareness Project (WRAP) report — compiled by Victorian GLBTI community organisations, led by the ALSO Foundation — which has been submitted to the Department of Justice.
The report contains 11 recommendations on where the state Government should act on homophobic harassment including reviewing legislation; improving reporting methods; adopting an anti-homophobia policy; and taking a zero-tolerance approach to homophobia and heterosexism.
Hillis said it’s important a “whole-of-government approach” is taken to gay and lesbian issues and called for the Education Department to follow the Department of Justice and the Department of Health in establishing a GLBTI ministerial advisory body.
“I think education is a glaring omission at the moment.
“I think same-sex attracted and gender questioning youth is an issue that’s not going to go away. It’s only going to get bigger and those young people deserve representation at a higher level.”
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Dr Anthony Bendall told Southern Star Observer homophobic harassment still remains a critical issue for GLBTI people, particularly youth.
“The Lobby urges that in addition to public awareness and social marketing, there be more direct and comprehensive educational strategies adopted within schools, which have been shown to be among the least safe and supportive environments for same-sex attracted young people.”
“Further legislative reform to combat homophobia and heterosexism is necessary, including the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 being amended to address harassment against GLBTI people.”