Initiative highlights homophobia
EDMONTON — The University of Alberta has launched a new initiative that highlights the issue of casual homophobia and aims to put an end to homophobic language.
The nohomophobes.com project is led by the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services.
It is meant to “show the prevalence of casual homophobia in our society.”
Homophobic slurs and phrases are used casually in everyday language and that can lead to “alienation, isolation and — in some tragic cases — suicide of sexual and gender minority youth.”
Dr. Kristopher Wells says words have the power to shape identity and the power to limit possibility.
Wells says people need to be responsible for the language they use, and need to hold their friends, relatives and co-workers responsible.
The initiative was announced on Wednesday and includes posters with homophobic slurs and a QR (quick-response) code that when scanned takes the user to the No Homophobes website.
The website itself pulls in posts made to Twitter — from all around the world and in real-time — that include the offensive words and phrases.
“The word ’faggot’ has been tweeted 2.4 million times. And that’s not a word that’s used in too many nice ways,” Wells said.
“If you’re on Twitter, you can use the NoHomophobes hashtag when you see this language as a simple way to respond and say, ‘hey, this isn’t okay.’ ”