Images from PFLAG's www.stayclose.org campaign. #1 Congressman and Mrs. Gephardt
and their daughter Chrissy. #2 Barbara Cook and her son Adam. #3 Congressman Gregory Meeks & his
brother John. #4 Ben Affleck & his cousin Jason. #5 Cyndi Lauper & her sister Elen. #6 Talkshow host Cristina Saralegui and her brother Ignacio.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ( PFLAG ) has launched, 'Stay Close,' a new educational ad campaign designed to help families and friends better understand and accept the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in their lives and to keep those relationships intact. The campaign, featuring photographs of straight celebrities and well-known personalities with their GLBT family members and friends, will first appear in high-profile outdoor, print and transit advertising space in New York and Washington, D.C. Print ads will begin appearing nationally in Time, Inc. publications beginning in mid-February.
Despite statistics showing that one in four American families includes someone who is gay, GLBT people are often rejected by their loved ones because of their sexual orientation. PFLAG developed the Stay Close campaign to help keep families and friends together.
'Society has made progress, but not enough has changed,' said Barbara Warner, national spokeswoman for the campaign. 'Even in the age of Will & Grace, many GLBT people are still living on the margins of our culture and remain isolated from those they love. The ramifications of this are staggering and for some are a matter of life or death.'
Statistics show GLBT people experience greater rates of depression, homelessness, harassment and suicide. One study found that 40 percent of the 1.3 million homeless youth living on America's streets are thought to be GLBT children thrown out of their homes by their parents. Further, a third of all youth suicides are related to issues of sexual identity.
The Stay Close campaign advertisements feature straight celebrities and well-known personalities with their GBLT relatives. Currently, six separate ads depict actor Ben Affleck with his cousin, Jason; singer Cyndi Lauper with her sister, Elen; Congressman and Mrs. Richard Gephardt with their daughter, Chrissy; Latina media mogul, Cristina Saralegui with her brother Ignacio; singer Barbara Cook with her son Adam; and New York Congressman Gregory Meeks with his brother John.
'People need this campaign—both gay and straight,' said Cyndi Lauper. 'I want people to know that it's about changing hearts and minds. It's about moving from simple tolerance to understanding to acceptance. But, ultimately, it's about unconditional love.'
The ads can be viewed online on the new Stay Close Web site—www.stayclose.org . The Web site features information about each celebrity, background about PFLAG and the Stay Close campaign, resources for families and friends of lesbians and gays and related information.