The global movement to make acceptance and inclusivity normal seems to have been overwhelmed. Hate and intolerance are flourishing again. In North America and the UK this month, Pride events are being held in a difficult environment. LGBTQ+ equality efforts are meeting a barrage of resistance online. Online homophobic abuse is rife.
According to the Emergence Foundation, an international organisation fighting for acceptance for, and understanding about, the LGBTQ+ population, a homophobic remark appears online every 23 seconds.
Independent creative agency, Rethink Canada, is helping the Emergence Foundation to combat cyberhate with a Chrome extension called Pride Flagging, that identifies homophobic expressions and blocks them with the rainbow colours of the Pride flag.
The extension works in ten different languages and targets a list of about 50 discriminatory terms. The project is open source and invites others to contribute to its evolution.
It follows an OOH campaign earlier this year called Brutal Postings, that made offensive and sometimes violent messages against LGBTQ+ un-ignorable by turning them into posters in the real world.
The idea was to convince people not to just ignore hateful messages online, but to take the time to flag or report them and hopefully get them taken down. The new campaign has a similar goal.
“Flagging still is a marginal online behaviour and we aim for more people to develop that reflex when confronted with discriminatory language,” stated Laurent Breault, general manager of the Emergence Foundation.
“These few clicks could make a real difference in the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ individuals and remind us of the weight of our words.”
Last year. the group unveiled a real-life installation called The Pride Shield made out of 193 layers of Pride flags – one for every country in the world. The flags were lined up in a queue and a shot was fired into them. It was able to stop the bullet. Viewers of the campaign video were encouraged to see the shield as a symbol of LGBT activism, that by working together, communities can put an end to the violence and rights violations faced by LGBT people in many parts of the world.