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GLSEN gay bullying 'Think before you speak' PSA to run at Super Bowl XLVI

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GLSEN has announced that PSAs about anti-gay bullying will run on a video billboard outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as football fans enter the Super Bowl. The "Think Before You Speak" ads will not run on television (unless somebody has a few million dollars lying around the house). The opportunity comes thanks to the Ad Council and Toronto-based Grazie media. The PSAs feature Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and the NBA’s Grant Hill and Jared Dudley.

GLSEN's full press release:

NEW YORK – February 1, 2012 – The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and The Ad Council today announced the award-winning “Think Before You Speak” public service announcements (PSA) will appear at Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5. GLSEN will become the first LGBT organization in the country to share its PSA campaign targeting anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) language among teens with Super Bowl attendees at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

“GLSEN is thrilled to share the Think Before You Speak campaign’s message of respect with tens of thousands of football fans attending the Super Bowl this year,” said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. “The PSA campaign featuring Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and the NBA’s Grant Hill has already reached millions of Americans across the country and we are truly grateful for this opportunity to increase awareness among a new kind of audience about the negative impact of anti-gay slurs.”

According to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate survey, three-quarters of LGBT students hear slurs such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school and 9 in 10 report hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard type of biased remarks at school. Research shows that these slurs are often unintentional and simply a part of the teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt forms of harassment.

The advertising opportunity was made possible as an in-kind donation to GLSEN by Toronto-based Grazie Media. The media company donated airtime for GLSEN’s ongoing PSA campaign that will be displayed on a video billboard positioned directly in front of the Lucas Oil Stadium where Super Bowl attendees enter the stadium.

“At one of the biggest sport stages around the world, the Super Bowl is a massive outlet to send a message,” said Grazie Media Director of Programming, Events Vanessa Wojtala. “Our organization feels that GLSEN’s presence at the Super Bowl is a wonderful way to raise awareness about the Think Before You Speak campaign.”

Grazie Media has also provided GLSEN’s “Think Before You Speak” campaign with additional airtime at a major national sporting event to be announced soon by GLSEN.“Think Before You Speak” features humorous TV PSAs with celebrities interrupting teenagers who use the term "that’s so gay."

The PSA campaign is complemented by an interactive website www.ThinkB4YouSpeak.com that enables youth, educators, parents and athletic coaches to take action to ensure a safer and more welcoming environment for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

The campaign has garnered widespread media coverage, including CNN, ABC’s “The View,” “Entertainment Tonight,” ESPN, Newsweek, The New York Times, Forbes, Gawker and PerezHilton.com. Bill O’Reilly of FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” even referred to Hilary Duff as a “Patriot” during his “Patriots and Pinheads” segment for her work on the PSA.

Ad Council research found that strong awareness of the “Think Before You Speak” campaign among teens has demonstrated a significant shift in key attitudes and behaviors regarding the use of anti-LGBT slurs such as “that’s so gay.”

Findings from surveys conducted by the Ad Council after the first year of the campaign of teens aged 13-16 suggest that a higher percentage of teens think that people should not say “that’s so gay” for any reason (38% in 2009 vs. 28% in 2008) and a higher percentage also report “never” saying “that’s so gay” when something is stupid or uncool (28% in 2009 vs. 18% in 2008).

“GLSEN is thankful for the generous support of Grazie Media and the continued partnership with the Ad Council to help us bolster our awareness-raising efforts of how the casual use of phrases like ‘that’s so gay’ contributes to hostile school climates,” said Byard. “We know that our campaign’s message has resonated with young people across the country, and we are confident that it will continue to make headway in ending anti-gay name-calling, bullying and harassment.