Let’s Celebrate LGBT
ABSTRACT: Among gay and lesbian youth, suicide is the largest cause of death. Many statistics reflect this problem in our society and it needs to be addressed. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community (LGBT) are human beings, just like everyone else. They live, work, and love and they should be able to do so without constant judgment and discrimination. I propose to change the online community through advertising in order to stop the heteronormativity. By advertising the LGBT community more fervently, the taboo of being a “gay” or “lesbian” person will hopefully subside. Making a more stable community will help the LGBT youth grow in a safer environment.
Over 30% of teen suicides each year are committed by a gay or lesbian youth. 50% of the gay/ lesbian youth population are rejected by family, 26% are forced to leave their homes, and 25% are abused due to their sexual orientation. About 30% have alcohol problems and 55% of gay men have a substance abuse problem at some point in their life. Almost 40% of homeless youth identify as gay or lesbian. Some who oppose the LGBT community call their sexual orientation a choice. But a thought: who would chose to be part of the statistics listed above? Just like some men were born with a liking for girls, some men were born to like other men. Many organizations are available online to serve as a support system that the LGBT may not already have, but not enough places online, or in social media in general, celebrate the LGBT community.
Celebrating the LGBT community was exemplified by Harvey Milk. He was elected as a public official in 1977 which was revolutionary because he identified himself as a gay man. Being the first gay official gave hope to the whole LGBT community. Themilkfoundation.org states that, “his courage, passion and sense of justice rocked a country and stirred the very core of a put down and pushed out community, bringing forward new hope and a new vision of freedom… Harvey showed us all what one person, standing up loudly and clearly, against a fierce societal fear and prejudice can accomplish. He created a rich and vivid message of hope and an enduring dream, teaching us how to create our own and leaving them for us to realize.” Though he was assassinated less than a year after his election, his memory still lives on. His son created the Harvey Milk Foundation to educate others about the LGBT community. Their hope is for a diverse government and world. The foundation uses the power of the Internet to convey their message. Their influence is not the only one circulating on the internet, however.
Many who are “in the closet” or who are ridiculed about their sexual orientation feel despair and hopelessness. This sometimes results in
self-harm, depression, and suicide. For those who experience these feelings, The Trevor Project is available. The Trevor Project is a suicide prevention project that can be reached by phone or on their website, thetreavorproject.org. NOH8 is another project or campaign whose mission statement is “to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.” Celebrities and their families participated in the campaign by taking a picture with duct tape over their mouth and NOH8 written on their faces. The Internet provides a safe haven for anyone who needs it, but it also provides a space to commune and meet like people.
Several online dating sites are available for those of the LGBT community who need help finding a soul mate. Chemistry.com, whose slogan is “Stop waiting. Start Dating” is just one such site. Others are primarily for gays or lesbians. Other forums for the LGBT community to gather are places like blogs and social media sites. Salon LGBTQ is one site whose motto is “Celebrating + Promoting the Power of the LGBTQ Social Media World.” The Internet offers a place of refuge and also a place of community. Examining all these sites and being an avid user of social media, one thing that is lacking is celebration of the LGBT community.
Looking in magazines, usually a male and female model are shown together. Family television shows are about a man and woman falling in love, and greeting cards or birthday cards never depict a gay or lesbian couple on them. It is obvious that producers or editors are either opposed to or uncomfortable with the idea of showcasing members of the LGBT community together. What I propose is that social media and the Internet create such advertisements, movies, television shows and greeting cards to promote the LGBT community. In turn, this would encourage a more acceptable environment for all sexualities.
My proposal includes an advertising campaign entitled, “Let’s Celebrate!” This campaign would include the following:
- The creation of a website called, “Let’s celebrate!” The website would invite those from the heterosexual community as well as the LGBT community. The two main objectives of the website would be to 1) showcase accomplishments of people within the community and 2) to create an advocacy group which would encourage the inclusion of people from the LGBT community to be a part of national advertising campaign
- Advertising the website through banners on Facebook, Tweets, Instagram pictures, Tumblr posts, and Vine videos in order to make people aware of the website
- The actual creation of advertisements and merchandise such as greeting cards, magazine ads and television commercials
In the beginning, the budget would be minimal due to the fact that it is free to create a website. Offering advertising space on the website could generate income which would then be used for the advertising campaign.
My overall goal would be to see a gay or lesbian couple as the face of a Jarod’s or Zale’s advertisement. I want to open a magazine and see that a lesbian couple just gave birth to or adopted a beautiful baby girl. The suicide rates of the LGBT community are far too many to live with. By changing the way we all see the LGBT community, we can better appreciate everyone we are surrounded with. Ellen DeGeneres identifies with the LGBT community and has a television show. She is very good towards her fans and the community. Others like Queen Latifa, Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch, and Wanda Sykes all use their stardom to promote equality. They show that they can be who they want to be and still live their lives and be successful. By celebrating the LGBT community and promoting them, the world may no longer see someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender but rather as a neighbor, a friend, and most importantly as another human being.
“About – Salon LGBTQ.” Salon LGBTQ. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://salonlgbtq.com/about/>.
“Milk Foundation.org.” Milk Foundationorg RSS. Milk Foundation.org, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://milkfoundation.org/>.
“Statistics You Should Know About Gay & Transgender Students – PFLAG New York City.” Statistics You Should Know About Gay & Transgender Students – PFLAG New York City. PFLAG NYC, 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.pflagnyc.org/safeschools/statistics>.
Adam, Bouska. “NOH8 Campaign.” NOH8 Campaign. NOH8 Campaign, 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.noh8campaign.com/>.