standard New Bus Campaign Encourages Parents’ Acceptance of Their LGBT Youth

CAMBA's new bus ad (CAMBA)

CAMBA’s new bus ad (CAMBA)

Brooklyn Buses and Bus Shelters Display Project ALY (Accept LGBT Youth) Messages
Aimed at Changing Attitudes and Ending Rejection and Risky Behavior

For many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in Central Brooklyn, being rejected by parents or family members can lead to risky and dangerous behavior. Project Accept LGBT Youth (ALY), a CAMBA HIV prevention initiative, is working to change this by encouraging parents, guardians and families to accept these young people with a new campaign on Brooklyn buses and shelters.

“Parents and family members who struggle with acceptance will come to understand the harmful effects that disapproval and rejection can have on LGBT youth,” said Lisa Koffler, CAMBA Program Manager for Prevention Services. “This will help break the silence, remove stigma and motivate change throughout the community.”

Funded by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene through Public Health Solutions, Project ALY is mounting a multi-pronged effort to change parents’ attitudes. The goal of this effort is to build awareness, overcome biases, strengthen families and help young people gain self-esteem and self-worth – lowering their risk of future health or mental health problems, including HIV infection and substance abuse.

“Many factors drive the HIV epidemic among LGBT youth in NYC, including increased risk behavior after experiencing family rejection,” said Jay Varma, Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control at the New York City Health Department.

The current initiative includes a recently launched social marketing campaign, which comprises the bus and bus shelter ads, and Facebook and Twitter posts, combined with community outreach. Interested parents and family members are encouraged to attend small-group meetings to discuss their attitudes and concerns.  In a novel approach, Project ALY enlists supportive parents of LGBT youth, who share their stories and become role models for others who are not yet as accepting.

The campaign was developed with feedback from a number of focus groups that included LGBT youth and parents who are supportive of their LGBT offspring.

“It’s important to set examples for parents, from parents who already went through it,” said one focus group parent.

For more information on the campaign and resources for parents, family members and youth, go to camba.org/ProjectALY.