Take a Walk in My Shoes: A Campaign on Homophobic Bullying

Post 4 by Zhengzhi Chen

 

You Filthy Hetero
A poster for the campaign ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’ (Marchant & Kerkhoff-Harvey 2013)
Alright straight boy
A poster for the campaign ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’ (Marchant & Kerkhoff-Harvey 2013)
You dirty breeders
A poster for the campaign ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’ (Marchant & Kerkhoff-Harvey 2013)
Your parents
A poster for the campaign ‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’ (Marchant & Kerkhoff-Harvey 2013)

 

‘Take a Walk in My Shoes’ is a campaign on homophobic bullying created by two Fixers Sarah Marchant and Schuylar Kerkhoff-Harvey.

Fixers is a project launched by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, and funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund. Fixers are young people from all over the United Kingdom, motivated by personal experience to create positive impact on themselves and people surrounding them. The issues they are trying to fix concern drink, drugs, crime, home, body, mind, abuse, prejudice, eco, relating, safety and work+play. Anyone can join Fixers. Fixers work like this: they choose an issue they are concerned about, use the skills of creative experts to figure out how to get their message across, and then they use digital, print and broadcast media to make their voice heart by the right people. So far, almost 20,000 Fixers have worked or are working on 2,160 unique projects, 818 of which have been featured on TV across the UK.

This campaign was featured on ITV News. As part of the campaign, Marchant and Kerkhoff-Harvey, who have both experienced homophobic abuse in their lives, ran a gay booth at Norwich Pride, where attendees could hear the verbal abuse they two have received. People who entered the booth would got plunged into darkness with typical homophobic insults hurled at them from speakers, so that they could have an insight into the feelings of a victim of homophobic bullying.

Another part of the campaign is a series of hard-hitting posters (featured at the beginning of this blog post) that show homophobic bullying from a heterosexual perspective. The posters continued the idea of the gay booth to give the viewer the experience of homophobic bullying. The offensive homophobic words like ‘fags’ and ‘dikes’ might be effective in the gay booth as a direct acoustic experience, but it would be more difficult to create resonation of the viewers if they were put in text on posters. Therefore, the designers reversed the scenario and created a situation of heterophobia bullying. As shown in the posters, the words that are used to bully gay people were changed into insult for heterosexual people, accompanied by photos of heterosexual people and kids of heterosexual couples with bruises that indicate they got bullied. All the ‘victims’ in the photos looked directly into the camera with plain background to provoke strong emotions from the viewers. Every poster was captioned with a fact about homophobic bullying to clarify the purpose of the campaign.

Overall, in the campaign, audios and strong visuals were utilised to create a scenario for the attendees and the viewers to experience how it feels to get bullied because of your (parents’) sexual orientations. First-hand experience always goes a longer way than simply preaching.

 

 

References

Fixers 2016, About Fixers, viewed 22 August 2016, <http://www.fixers.org.uk/home/about.php >.

Fixers UK 2013, Fixers Homophobia Story on ITV News Anglia, May 2013, videorecording, YouTube, viewed 21 August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG6RCVbB8tg >.

Marchant, S. & Kerkholf-Harvey, S. 2013, Take a Walk in My Shoes, Fixers, viewed 16 August 2016, <http://www.fixers.org.uk/news/6845-11208/take-a-walk-in-my-shoes.php >.

Scrace, A. 2013, Homophobia Fix on ITV Anglia, Fixers, viewed 17 August 2016, <http://www.fixers.org.uk/news/6561-11208/homophobia-fix-on-itv-anglia.php >.

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