Complaints about gay billboard ads rejected

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that an ad campaign by gay equality organisation Stonewall did not breach their code.

The “Some people are gay – get over it!” posters were displayed on 600 billboards across the Britain last month.

Of the 54 complaints received by the ASA, seven claimed the ad was inappropriate for display where it could be seen by children and five objected that the ad was particularly offensive to Christian and other religious groups.

Two others claimed the ad was offensive because it discriminated against heterosexual people and implied that all heterosexuals were homophobic.

“Although some people might disagree with the advertiser’s approach, the ad did not contain language or imagery that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or particular offence to heterosexuals or religious groups,” the ASA said.

“The ad did not imply that heterosexual people were homophobic, and did not promote homosexuality as an attractive lifestyle choice or as taking advantage of issues arising from children’s sexuality for political gain.”

Advertising space in England, Scotland and Wales was donated to gay equality organisation Stonewall by Titan Outdoor Advertising Ltd.

The message – ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’ – is displayed in giant, tabloid-style capital letters, on a bright red background.

The campaign, originally designed for schools, was developed in collaboration with 150 secondary school pupils and teachers for Stonewall as part of the Education For All campaign.

“We’re delighted at the ASA’s decision,” said Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill.

“This was a carefully-designed campaign which has had a significant impact.

“We’ve received supportive messages from teachers and young people across the country saying it has helped them raise the issue of homophobic bullying in their schools for the first time.

“This sort of bullying, which blights the lives of young people, has festered in the past precisely because it has been invisible.”

The posters were not universally well-received. One in the town of Blackburn, was covered in abusive graffiti.

The outdoor ad campaign is expected to resume later this year.