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Today, a series of four 30 second advertisements start airing on the UK’s commercial TV station Channel 4. Pride in London made the ads as part of their “Love Happens Here” campaign. The new series of videos feature people apologizing for severing ties with family members after they came out.
The videos are all sparsely shot. Each features the person sitting alone in their homes as the camera slowly zooms in. They describe what originally happened when their family member came out — and how they rejected them. But then they express regret at the way they treated their loved ones.
There are four different 30 second videos — plus two additional versions editing the four stories together into one piece — a minute-long version for TV and a 90 second version for movie theaters. Each of the videos takes a letter of LGBT. The people apologizing in the videos explain some of their misconceptions. The mother with a lesbian daughter was initially mad that her daughter “was denying her her chance to be a grandma.” The mother of a bisexual daughter says “I thought you were just attention seeking.”
But the people in the videos get their misconceptions out of the way quickly — and the regret at cutting their loved ones out of their lives takes over. Any initial revulsion you feel for the queerphobia turns to pity as you watch them realize what a horrible, horrible mistake they made.
With luck, this campaign will help keep parents from making the same mistake. After all, in the United States, 40% of all homeless teens are LGBTQ. Of those, 43% were kicked out by their parents and 32% were abused physically, emotionally or sexually at home. In the United Kingdom, the LGBTQ youth homelessness charity, the Albert Kennedy Trust reports a 20% increase in queer teens seeking help since 2012.
The other great thing about this campaign is it shows the truth of something Dan Savage has repeatedly said: “The only leverage an adult child has over her parents is her presence. If your mom treats you like shit, absent yourself. If she’s rude to you in your own home, kick her ass out.”
Hopefully these ads will serve as a wakeup call to queerphobic parents to not make the same mistakes — and to join the rest of us here in the 21st century.