Stonewall urges action from passive LGBT allies as hate crime surges

The charity's three-year initiative centres on the slogan 'Come out for LGBT'

Stonewall has launched its first brand campaign in 10 years to reignite the fight for LGBT equality, as new research reveals that hate crime against LGBT people has risen by nearly 80 per cent in the past five years.

The charity’s three-year initiative centres on a new slogan, "Come out for LGBT", aimed at moving passive supporters of equality into action.

The campaign comes as a poll conducted by YouGov has found that hate crime against the LGBT community is on the rise, despite more legal rights being granted around the world. One in five LGBT people in Britain said they experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation in the past 12 months. The number of LGBT people experiencing hate crime has increased by 78 per cent in the past five years, from 9 per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent in 2017.

Ruth Hunt, the chief executive of Stonewall, said the prevalence of hate crime found by the research had surprised her. Yet there was a "huge degree of complacency" among people who stayed on the sidelines rather than showing concrete support for LGBT people, she added.

"We often encounter the idea that the fight is done now," she said. "But there are still significant portions of society that are homophobic."

The agency Mr President created the campaign for Stonewall, which will include a film running online and in cinemas, bus and print adverts, and social posts from influencers such as the TV presenter Sue Perkins and the vocalist Ghostpoet. Adverts feature supporters standing alongside LGBT people, such as a senior brigadier general with a gay man in his troop, with straplines including "Come out marching", "Come out playing" and "Come out sharing".

Merchandise such as buttons and Oyster card cases will be sold to encourage people to become visible allies, and Stonewall will also have resources on its website with suggestions for taking action.

Stonewall has run a "Get over it!" campaign since 2007 to tackle bullying. "Come out for LGBT" would not replace that initiative but would widen the charity’s message to a broader audience, Hunt said.

The new campaign reflected the direction in which Stonewall was moving, Hunt said: "Previously we were focused on securing rights for individuals. Now, although that’s still a priority, it’s about making sure we build alliances and encourage people to stand with each other."

This article first appeared on Third Sector's sister publication, Campaign.

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