Beyondblue unveils fight against homophobia

Depression organisation Beyondblue has rolled out a $1.5 million campaign to ask Australians to stop discriminating against people because of sexual preference.

The awareness campaign is, in particular, pitched toward reducing discrimination against young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex (GLBTI) people. The target audience is young men but is expected to have broad appeal.

The ads compare bullying GLBTI people to past practices of forcing left-handed people to use their right hand. It will run across TV, cinema, print, out-of-home and digital platforms. It will also feature in GLBTI publications and media, which was handled by Pink Media Group. Movember also contributed funds towards the push. The campaign was created in partnership with Melbourne agency Marmalade.

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett said: “It's unreasonable to think you would discriminate against someone just for being themselves. We don't want people to feel they have to hide who they are because they fear discrimination, ridicule or violence.

“Beyondblue research shows that, discrimination and bullying are major contributing factors to depression and anxiety, and risk of suicide. The GLBTI community, in particular, faces widespread discrimination which contributes to much higher rates of anxiety and depression than in the general population.

“GLBTI people are at least two to three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader population and are at greater risk of suicide and self-harm. Almost half hide their sexuality or gender identity in a range of situations fearing violence or discrimination – with young people aged 16 to 24 years more likely to do so than any other age group.”

Beyondblue chief executive Kate Carnell said: “Things need to change. We want everyone is Australia to stop the discrimination, think about how comments you make could cause real distress and harm, and respect people who are different from you.”

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