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

Wednesday, January 9, 2013
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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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