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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, PagerDuty Blog, Kevin Jackson

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University of Alberta: Why Does FAGGOT Continue to Be an Acceptable Hate Word?

New television commercial confronts use of casual homophobia

EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/09/13 -- Faggot, dyke and homo are just a few slandering words still casually used in everyday speech. In response, a new television commercial has just hit the airwaves asking why we continue to tolerate homophobic language. The commercial is the next phase of a "No Homophobes" campaign developed by the University of Alberta's Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS).

The TV commercial, viewable here, is a 30 second spot that bleeps out several words deemed offensive except for the words "gay faggot" which triggers viewers to question why the use of homophobic language is still used and accepted by society.

The commercial also directs viewers to www.nohomophobes.com, the iSMSS site that tracks homophobic words on Twitter. The site, which shows actual live tweets, has tracked over 6 million tweets containing "faggot" since July 2012. Nohomophobes.com itself has had remarkable worldwide attention since launching in September 2012, with media coverage coming from Western Canada to the UK and Italy to Cambodia.

"We no longer tolerate racist language, we're getting better at dealing with sexist language, but sadly we still see and hear homophobic and transphobic language in our society," says Dr. Kristopher Wells, the Institute's Associate Director. "While this language might not always be meant to be hurtful, we must not forget that words like "faggot" contribute greatly to the continued alienation and isolation of sexual and gender (LGBTQ) people, especially our youth."

The commercial was produced with generous support from Global Television. "We are proud to be part of this campaign," says Tim Spelliscy, Senior Regional Director Global News Edmonton and Prairie Region. "This is a pressing social issue that has been swept under the surface for far too long."

Dr. Wells, who worked closely on the development of the campaign stressed that "the use of casual homophobia must end. We are all responsible to stop it. The lives of our youth, and the humanity of our society depends upon it."

For more information on the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services visit www.ismss.ualberta.ca.

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