Straight people encouraged to come out for gay rights

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The Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in the US has announced a series of 25 new ‘Be an Ally a Friend’ adverts featuring 22 top entertainers from the world of television, film and sports.

“The ‘Be an Ally a Friend’ campaign empowers each and every one of us to make a difference in the lives of loved ones by listening to and supporting those who come out,” GLAAD president Neil G. Giuliano said.

“The straight allies and community members who gave their time and energy to this campaign deserve our deepest thanks for participating in this effort to reach a critical audience.”

The campaign features two distinct spots-one about the importance of acceptance of your gay friend or family member, the other about the harmful power of anti-gay words-each encouraging the audience to “be an ally and a friend,” sending viewers to online resources to give them the tools to be straight allies and combat homophobia.

There are multiple 20- and 30-second versions of the spots, as well as versions in Spanish and American Sign Language.

“Straight allies are some of the most effective and powerful voices in the struggle for equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” Giuliano added.

“Not only can allies offer vital support to people in the coming out process, they also help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, tolerance and mutual respect.”

The adverts feature former professional basketball player John Amaechi, Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Alexandra Billings (Grey’s Anatomy), Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Alec Mapa (Desperate Housewives), Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (The L Word), tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Becki Newton (Ugly Betty), Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy), Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), and Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy).

The first advert, which features Amaechi, Griffiths, Knight, Matlin, Navratilova and O’Connell, can be viewed at

Additional adverts will be unveiled approximately every two weeks during the coming year.

They will be available at LiveVideo, YouTube, AOL Video and MySpace.

The adverts were directed by Nadine Licostie and produced by Licostie and Connie Grazia for Red Thread Productions.