Medium and message: Stonewall

Stonewall's campaign to counter homophobic bullying in schools was helped by a tie-up with a soap opera.

Gay rights campaign group Stonewall arranged for one of its T-shirts to be worn by a character in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks as part of the charity's Education for All campaign, which targets homophobic bullying in schools.

The campaign's slogan, "Some people are gay. Get over it!" was on a T-shirt worn by one young character in the soap, Kris Fisher, while another character, John Paul McQueen, played by James Sutton was shown with the poster on his bedroom wall.

Gary Nunn, communications officer at Stonewall, says: "It made sense for us to work with a TV soap that we know is watched by young people and features storylines that reflect the lives of young gay people in particular."

Stonewall suggested the idea to Hollyoaks producers after giving the programme an award for a storyline that dealt with homosexuality, which the charity described as sympathetic and convincing.

Posters for the campaign are appearing on tube carriages this month to coincide with pupils going back to school. A raft of celebrities and politicians have lent their names to it, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and actor Sir Ian McKellen. The poster campaign has been discussed in national newspapers, on local and national radio and in the gay media. It made the front cover of gay monthly Attitude this month.

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