News - August 1996

"Homophobic" PSA to be pulled and re-edited

NEW YORK CITY --The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) applauds a decision by Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) to re-edit and replace a public service announcement (PSA) that GLAAD charged was patently homophobic. In a letter delivered July 10 to GLAAD, the PDFA announced that it would replace the existing PSA with an edited version that eliminates portions seen as offensive to the lesbian and gay community.

An effective national media campaign mounted by GLAAD, and the community response it generated, prompted the PDFA to reconsider its position and announce that it will pull and re-edit the PSA. GLAAD had alerted television networks and independent and affiliated stations nationwide of the homophobic PSA with a media release on July 1 and sent thousands of action alerts to community organizations worldwide via the Internet.

The anti-gay PSA, one of ten television ads in a campaign to end heroin use, was distributed by the PDFA to the nation's top 50 media markets. In a letter to PDFA President and CEO Richard D. Bonnette on June 20, GLAAD expressed concern that the ad had the potential to exacerbate higher-than-average risks gay and lesbian youth face for substance abuse and suicide by implying that being gay is worse than being addicted to heroin. According to GLAAD, the ad suggested that drug use ultimately leads to sex with men, which was portrayed as a social ill more severe than drug use and used homosexuality as a scare tactic to prevent drug use amongst teens.

"We are pleased that the PDFA now agrees that a misguided and offensive message to America's youth is nothing less than destructive," said William Waybourn, GLAAD's managing director. "We applaud their decision to recall and re-edit the homophobic PSA which certainly had the potential to derail this crucial public service campaign."

Waybourn added, "GLAAD hopes that in the future the Partnership for a Drug-Free America will be more sensitive to the lesbian and gay community and that it will never again squander the opportunity to educate the American public about the pressures endured by lesbian and gay adolescents that place them at high risk for drug and alcohol abuse."

GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay news bureau and the only national lesbian and gay media watchdog organization. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate, and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.