by Romina Tolu
Yesterday I attended a press launch for the new campaign by MGRM (Malta Gay Rights Movement) and the Voices Foundation. The campaign is called 'Think Before You Speak - Making Life Better for LGBT Youth'. At first my idea was that of covering it as normal run-of-the-mill press-report, as undoubtedly the real press would have done. However as part of the LGBT community myself I found it hard to distance myself from the campaign and write about it in such a manner. The campaign resonated within myself and spoke to me in a manner which would make it unable to write just a press report.
Engaging with these posters, made me realise that I would have loved to have them around when I was a teenager struggling with my sexuality at secondary school and even at 6th form. Knowing that there were supportive people might have possibly made those years easier.
The campaign is indeed very needed in all schools, and I do hope that they welcome this initiative; for the sake of all LGBT youth who do not have any support.
Of course as Anthony Girard of Drachma Parents Group (a Christian support group for parents of LGBT children) also said, parents must also be reached out to. They also have their own 'coming-out' phase to deal with. Our parents are also the ones struggling to come to terms with their children's sexuality, I hope that this campaign does raise awareness of the importance of LGBT youth having supportive parents. In hindsight to my own coming-out experience, I am one of the lucky ones, with super-supportive parents, and I treasure this positive, enriching relationship I have with them, yet I know others who are not as lucky.
The posters draw the viewer in and speak to everyone;
Through one you are drawn in by juxtaposition of photo and drawings. Is it really possible to find support when bullying? Can we, as a society, end bullying?
On another it is the look on a man's face, looking into the poster you realise that there is more to it than meets the eye, more images within tell a story, a parent and his child, a relationship which is precious. ''Hobb'' it pleads.
Strong powerful text on another poster has the capability of speaking straight to the heart, I know it speaks directly to mine, ''HUX INT HEKK?''.
The final one a strong contrast as scratches on a youth's back spell out their thoughts, ''Trans – f'gisem li fih ma jhossux komdu...''. You have the right to be happy is the overlying text.
The messages of these posters stay with you long after you have diverted your gaze elsewhere, and they have a capability of reaching out to not just the bullied, but the bully and parents of LGBT youth.
The little girl inside of me wants to thank MGRM for this initiative, it truly made me think, and left me speechless.
If you're looking for more information about this campaign check the Maltese online news channels, or MGRM's website or attend tomorrow's launch at Tom's Bar where the video-clips will go viral!
More information about that here: https://www.facebook.com/events/255836864470360/
Romina Tolu is Communications Officer @ We Are