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Canadian PSA asks why ‘faggot’ is still considered an acceptable word

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada — The University of Alberta team behind the “No Homophobes” campaign has launched a Public Service Announcement aimed at discouraging the use of anti-gay slurs that can be demeaning to those in the LGBT community.

The controversial PSA is now being broadcast in the Alberta province by a Canadian website launched by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) at the University of Alberta.

The institute noted that the prevalence of homophobic language has been garnering international attention for months. Since July 2012 the site www.nohomophobes.com has tracked more than 6 million tweets containing the word “faggot.”

“Homophobic language is the most commonly, derogatory language used today but the least addressed by teachers and many adults,” says Dr. Kristopher Wells with the iSMSS.

“When I first saw those numbers first start to come in on the website, I thought we might get a couple hundred tweets a day, not in the tens of thousands,” adds Wells.

With the hope of increasing public awareness about homophobia and “casual homophobia,” with this new PSA, the ISMSS team explained that many people who use the slurs don’t consider themselves homophobic.

“Words have the possibility to shape people’s identities, their realities, and possibilities for the future,” said Wells.

The PSA is a 30 second spot that bleeps out several words deemed offensive except for the words “gay faggot,” which prompts viewers to question why the use of homophobic language is still used in society and sometimes even accepted. The PSA was created by Calder Bateman and the production was donated by Global Television.

Watch:

Wells noted that the use of these terms and their prevalence in society is destructive.

“That’s what leads to youth feeling isolated and alienated and tragically, in some cases, youth suicide. We know that Canada has one of the highest suicide rates in the western world.”

According to Wells, sexual minorities are also one of the three most targeted groups for hate crimes in the country, and of all hate crimes committed; those against sexual minorities are the most violent in nature.

Tim Spelliscy, Senior Regional Director for Global News Edmonton and the Prairie Region said:

“This is a pressing social issue that has been swept under the surface for far too long,” said Tim Spelliscy, Senior Regional Director for Global News Edmonton and the Prairie Region. “It’s not OK to target other people because of their differences because diversity and difference are our greatest strength as a society.”

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20 more reader comments:

  1. ya why is it ok to hate with that word?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:06pm
  2. I don’t believe it is acceptable!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:08pm
  3. I don’t believe it is acceptable!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:08pm
  4. my answer “and”….

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:09pm
  5. Good question!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:09pm
  6. Good question!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:09pm
  7. I am a fag!! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:17pm
  8. I am a fag!! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:17pm
  9. Very derogatory and hateful word

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:18pm
  10. Very derogatory and hateful word

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:18pm
  11. It’s 2013.. who cares? If a word offends you so much, you should reevaluate who YOU are as a person.. not the idea of what someone else thinks. Shall we take arms and rage why the word bitch is a degrading term for females? No.. because we don’t really care. Words aren’t going to hurt you.. in truth, they make you a tough skinned little tard. Hooray.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:23pm
  12. It’s 2013.. who cares? If a word offends you so much, you should reevaluate who YOU are as a person.. not the idea of what someone else thinks. Shall we take arms and rage why the word bitch is a degrading term for females? No.. because we don’t really care. Words aren’t going to hurt you.. in truth, they make you a tough skinned little tard. Hooray.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:23pm
  13. It’s right up there with the “n” word for me. It just makes people sound uneducated and foolish.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 6:30pm
  14. “I like the word faggot because it describes MY kinda guy!” -Margaret Cho-

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7:19pm
  15. because people still use it in the proper context. i still can’t figure out how “Faggot” which means a bundle of sticks is derogatory to gay people… and in england a Fag is a cigorette

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7:34pm
  16. and in Italy, Faggotti is a bassoon.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7:56pm
  17. I was actually going to say, look at them and ask why do you insist on calling me a bundle of sticks? Be entertained by their confusion, it’s an IQ check, then ask yourself if they’re worthy of further interactions.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7:58pm
  18. They don’t even know a true meaning.

    Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 9:35am
  19. i cant make a jeus joke in school but ppl can say fag ya thats fair

    Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 3:12pm
  20. I believe that faggot was applied to queers starting several centuries ago when gay and lesbian people were burned at the stake along with women who were believed to be witches. The faggots were indeed bunches of stick that were used like kindling.

    Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 6:36pm