NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians
and Gays (PFLAG) launched “Stay Close,” a new educational
advertising campaign designed to help families and friends better understand
and accept the LGBT people in their lives and to keep those relationships
The campaign, featuring photographs of straight celebrities and well-known
personalities with their LGBT family members and friends, will first
appear in high profile outdoor, print and transit advertising space in
New York and Washington, D.C. Print ads will begin appearing nationally
in Time, Inc. publications beginning in mid-February.
Despite statistics showing that one in four American families includes
someone who is gay, LGBT people are often rejected by their loved ones
because of their sexual orientation. PFLAG developed the “Stay
Close” campaign to help keep families and friends together.
“Society has made progress, but not enough has changed,” says
Barbara Warner, national spokeswoman for the campaign. “Even in
the age of Will and Grace, many LGBT people are still living on the margins
our culture and remain isolated from those they love. The ramifications
of this are staggering and for some are a matter of life or death.”
Statistics show LGBT people experience greater rates of depression, homelessness,
harassment and suicide. One study found that 40 percent of the 1.3 million
homeless youth living on America’s streets are thought to be LGBT
children thrown out of their homes by their parents. Further, a third
of all youth suicides are related to issues of sexual identity.
The “Stay Close” campaign advertisements feature straight
celebrities and well-known personalities with their LGBT relatives. Currently,
six separate ads depict actor Ben Affleck with his cousin, Jason; singer
Cyndi Lauper with her sister, Elen; Congressman and Mrs. Richard Gephardt
with their daughter, Chrissy; Latina media mogul, Cristina Saralegui
with her brother Ignacio; singer Barbara Cook with her son Adam; and
New York Congressman Gregory Meeks with his brother John.
“People need this campaign — both gay and straight,” says
Lauper. “I want people to know that it’s about changing hearts
and minds. It’s about moving from simple tolerance to understanding
to acceptance. But, ultimately, it’s about unconditional love.”
The ads can be viewed online on the new “Stay Close” website — www.stayclose.org.
The website features information about each celebrity, background about
PFLAG and the “Stay Close” campaign, resources for families
and friends of lesbians and gays and related information.
About Stay Close
In 2002, PFLAG New York took the lead in developing an awareness campaign
targeting parents, families, teachers, clergy, politicians, LGBT people,
and the general public to educate them about the importance of maintaining
and strengthening the most important relationships in their lives. The
goal was to reach people who would most benefit from PFLAG’s services
and, ultimately, to increase acceptance, reduce bigotry, and change hearts
PFLAG New York partnered with Metro DC PFLAG and recruited talented individuals
from various fields (advertising, PR, law, media) to work pro bono on
the awareness effort, which became known as the “Stay Close” campaign.
After three years of hard work by a large group of members, staff and
professional volunteers, PFLAG NY and PFLAG Metro DC launched the “Stay
Close” campaign. The message is clear: Stay Close to your loved
ones because relationships are too precious to lose.