New Campaign 'Proud AF' Aims To Tackle Racism Among Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Men In Ireland
The Gay Project has launched a new campaign “#ProudAF”, aimed at reducing racism towards gay, bisexual and trans (GBTQI+) people of colour and travellers and in Ireland.
The campaign hopes to address the barriers to inclusion that men of colour and travellers face within the queer community, through experience sharing and increased visibility across the country.
The high profile advertising campaign launching today features community activist and art director Pradeep Mahadeshwar, drag queen Viola Gayvis, law student and asylum rights advocate Bulelani Mfaco, TikTok star and mental health advocate Darren Collins, and Delroy Mpofu, who has just begun his studies at UCD.
The campaign will explore topics such as sexual racism, racial profiling, objectification and fetishisation, cultural differences and discrimination perpetuated by white and settled GBTQI+ people.
Proud AF is a call to action that asks the wider community to examine their own behaviours, and to change them in order to make our community a more accepting and inclusive place for everyone.
"If you're from India, or Pakistan, or from Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh, you become non-existent.
You are here at the scene, but people don't want to see you, they don't want to talk with you.
It’s hard for your self esteem” said Pradeep Mahadeshwar, a gay Indian man taking part in the national campaign.
The Gay Project is an Irish NGO that supports gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer men, celebrates sexuality and gender diversity, and advocates for LGBTQI+ human rights and policy protections.
The #ProudAF campaign is the latest national strategy being run by The Gay Project to increase visibility and awareness of the issue of racism in the GBTQI+ community.
The campaign will run for the whole month of October and will feature a nationwide washroom ad and digital screen campaign in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick, as well as in all major third level institutions.
The models featured in the campaign are all members of the GBTQI+ community who have experienced racism, bias and exclusion within their community, due to their ethnic identity.
#ProudAF also includes the experiences of gay traveller men, who struggle for inclusion and acceptance within their own ethnic group, as well as among the GBTQI+ scene.
“Being an GBTQI+ member from the travelling community, I find that when you enter GBTQI+ spaces you're not accepted”, said Darren Collins, a gay traveller man from Co Offaly.
“When you say you're a Traveller there’s an automatic barrier there, but when you say you’re a gay traveller, there’s nothing”, said Collins.
The Gay Project, based in Cork city, has been advocating for LGBTQI+ rights since the 1970s and has identified the issues of exclusion and racism as a major challenge.
"We started this campaign to highlight and address racism across the community.
We know that there is a disconnect between the experiences of gay men of colour and gay Travellers and that of the wider population.
We have heard reports of sexual racism, fetishisation of race and we want Proud AF to increase visibility of these issues”, said Michael
O’Donnell, Campaign Director with The Gay Project.
"We need to tell our own stories.
It is incredibly difficult at times, and it might continue to be so, but there is progress being made.
I am happy for the opportunities Ireland has provided me and the people who surround me”, said Thomas Heising, a gay man of colour, based in
Cork who volunteers with The Gay Project.
"I think Ireland has something special in terms of its open-mindedness and willingness to listen to marginalised voices - something I didn't encounter in my home country Denmark”, said Heising.
The campaign is funded and supported by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
"I am delighted to see my Department supporting such a proactive campaign to tackle the very real issue of racism and exclusion in the GBTQI+ community, and I hope the Proud AF campaign is successful in increasing the visibility and inclusion of all minority members of the wider LGBTQI+ community”, said Minister Roderic O’Gorman.