THE POWER OF THE ADVERTISING CREATIVE TO CHANGE NORMS
The Advertisers Activists Collective (AAC) was launched by AAI in early 2016 as a means to reach out specifically to the advertising industry in Africa on LGBT issues.
In 2015, AAI launched the Destabilising Heteronormativity project which aims to improve access to health and other human rights for people in Africa who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming (LGBTIQGNC) and all other forms of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) that exist. The AAC is the arm of this work that works specifically with the advertising industry.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHANGE IN “NORMS”.
Advertisements (and those who create them and commission them) have the power to change norms and either reinforce or reverse stigma and discrimination. Whether advertisements feature women, mentally ill people, the disabled, LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Queer people), or certain race groups, they can perpetuate harmful stereotypes or break them down. But the choice doesn’t have to be between non-stigmatizing and creativity, or between reaching audiences via stereotyping and serving equality. In fact, choosing to positively represent marginalized groups is not only good for equality, it can be good for brand-building.
NO MORE STEREOTYPING LABELS IN ADVERTS
It is critical that the advertising sector not only reach out to LGBT audiences, but that they do so in a way that rings true to LGBT people, rather than using stereotypical or mocking caricatures that hurt, alienate and stigmatise. There’s a lot at stake for the corporate world in terms of how this demographic is portrayed in advertising, but there’s also a lot at stake for society. The LGBT community suffers mental trauma and violence as a result of stigma. Stigma directly causes the LGBT community to suffer all of the following at very high rates: bullying, emotional turmoil, suicide, homophobic laws, brutal rapes, murders and other hate crimes, and increased risk of acquiring HIV. If advertisers are not part of the solution, they are likely part of the problem.
NOT SUPPORTING EQUALITY IS NO LONGER AN OPTION
Many people think that being straight and only either male or female is how the world operates, that it is the only way to be. It is not like that for a lot of people. We need to change what people consider the norm. First, we must disrupt the status quo. Only then, can we shift people from a two-gender (male and female) binary rut and a heterosexual cliché.
LET’S EAT TOGETHER, AND TALK ABOUT LABELS DINNER
In March 2016, AAI hosted fourteen of South Africa’s key advertising creative minds at an intimate gathering to eat and talk about labels and equality. Read more here
The #EqualityChallenge Guidelines are meant as a framework to help advertisers, marketers, businesses and SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) activists work together to make equality, dignity, freedom and security a reality for the millions of LGBT people living in South Africa and the rest of Africa. Together, we can create new understandings of society that include everyone, that will help South Africa’s constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be more than hopeful words, and that can spread the values of inclusion and human rights for all, enshrined in these legal instruments, to societies throughout Africa.
Find out more about the #EQUALITYGUIDELINES here
LEGAL BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT FOR #EQUALITYCHALLENGE GUIDELINES
LGBT rights are laid out in many national, regional and international laws, resolutions and codes which speak to equality, non-discrimination, dignity, non-violence and protection of the law.
This document maps out the most important commitments for advertisers, marketers and Businesses to know about (International, regional and national laws, and the South African Advertising Code on LGBT Rights & Equality) AAI AAC EqualityChallenge Legal Context FINAL JAN 2018
CONNECTING ADVERTISERS AND ACTIVISTS
Join the AAC: Email Czerina@aidsaccountability.org and ask to join the Advertisers Activists Collective. We can assist you with the content and visuals of your adverts and can generally offer expert support on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
GET IN TOUCH
For more info contact: Czerina Patel, AIDS Accountability International (AAI)
107 Greenmarket Place, 54 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town 8000, South Africa