Quebec counters homophobia with awareness campaign
Do you consider yourself accepting of homosexuality but feel uncomfortable seeing images like the one above?
You're not alone.
A phone survey of 800 Québécois conducted by the Quebec government revealed that although 90 percent didn't have a problem with homosexuality, 40 percent still felt uncomfortable seeing same-sex couples showing affection in public.
La belle province, however, is doing something about it.
In 2008, the Quebec government appointed the Minister of Justice as responsible for fighting homophobia. The Quebec Policy Against Homophobia, in response to a 2007 report by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, was launched in 2009.
The province, as part of its phase one objectives, previously set up a university research chair on homophobia at the University of Quebec in Montreal in 2011.
Quebec’s Minister of Justice Bertrand St-Arnaud announced on March 3 that the provincial government has launched a media-based awareness campaign as part of the Government Action Plan Against Homophobia 2011-2016.
The media campaign includes two French-language TV commercials and an English-language radio ad (which will all run until March 31).
The first TV ad features a woman returning home from work to find a love note with a rose. When she enters the living room, she's greeted with a surprise.
The second TV ad depicts a man waiting for his partner at arrivals at an airport. When a woman and a man walk toward him, he embraces the man.
Both ads may catch some viewers off-guard by ending with same-sex couples kissing. Then a question appears: "Does this change the way you thought twenty seconds ago?"
Meanwhile, the radio ad features a man groaning "Honey, do we have to go to your parents' place for dinner tonight?" After another man replies to him to say they haven't been there in two weeks, a woman asks "Does this change what you thought a few seconds ago? Let's fight homophobia."
The campaign also includes a new website, which presents a test (in both English and French) called "Are you really open?" The test presents viewers with a series of scenarios and asks viewers to mark their responses.
The website includes a list of social resources. It also offers information about lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people (addressing transphobia and biphobia even though the campaign is specified as tackling homophobia); discrimination manifesting through the use of stereotypes, language, and more; and the need to speak out when witnessing homophobia.
The second phase of the campaign is scheduled to launch in 2014. Future priorities of the campaign will include promoting queer rights and encouraging well-being.