A campaign has been launched which aims to raise awareness about the prevalence of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, despite the widespread misconception they have basic protections.
The public service campaign from the Ad Council, in partnership with the Gill Foundation, promotes acceptance, empathy and understanding for the millions of LGBT Americans who can be kicked out of their homes, fired from their jobs or denied services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Created by ad agency CP+B with research and strategy from Redscout, the “Beyond I Do” campaign will confront the common misconception that LGBT Americans received full equality along with the right to marry.
The campaign highlights many stories of Americans who have faced discrimination across the country, along with facts about discrimination, at BeyondIDo.org. They speak for the 55 percent of LGBT people who have reported being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. And while public opinion research shows 79 percent of non-LGBT Americans support equality for LGBT people, 80 percent mistakenly believe it’s illegal under federal law to fire, evict or refuse service to someone because they are LGBT. In reality, 31 states lack comprehensive protections and allow these acts of discrimination against LGBT Americans.
“Everyone should have the ability to live in safety, support their families, and go about their daily lives without the fear of being turned away because they’re gay or transgender,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO. “By sharing powerful and poignant stories, this campaign highlights the values we hold so dear as Americans and provides a real opportunity to grow awareness and empathy.”
“Beyond I Do” features stories of Americans from across the country who have been fired from their jobs, kicked out of their homes, or denied services because they are LGBT. They include:
- Krista and Jami of Michigan, who were married in 2012. A pediatrician refused to provide medical care for their six-day-old newborn because of the couple’s sexual orientation. It was, and still is, legal in Michigan for a doctor to refuse service to a child based on the sexual orientation of the child’s parents.
- Aaron and Shaun, who were married in 2015. Shortly after their joyous September wedding, they attempted to place an announcement in Shaun’s hometown newspaper in Missouri to continue the celebration with his childhood friends and neighbors. The publisher decided that announcing the marriage between two men was inappropriate, and denied the announcement.
- Jimmie and Mindy of Ohio, who became the first LGBT couple to marry in Franklin County. Jimmie was unexpectedly fired from her job as a teacher when her school’s principal and board members had “questions about her sexuality.” Until that point, Jimmie had received nothing but positive performance evaluations.
Actor Nick Offerman also lends his voice to the campaign by recording radio spots that will be heard nationwide. Several media partners have made commitments to the “Beyond I Do” campaign prior to launch including Fox Networks Group, Oath, Pinterest and Upworthy.
“The power of this campaign comes from leveraging the shocking fact that millions of Americans are being denied basic rights,” said Quinn Katherman, Creative Director, CP+B. “We realized that nothing could ever be as compelling as the true stories these couples have to tell.”
“We wanted to be clear and non-judgmental with the message that we are all just human beings and yet some of us are denied basic rights,” said Redscout Founder and Chairman, Jonah Disend. “Through real stories, the campaign is exposing the fact that the right to marriage wasn’t a golden ticket to equal rights for LGBT Americans.”
Read all of the stories at www.BeyondIDo.org and learn more about discrimination protections in your state.