TBWA\London and the Naz & Matt Foundation have kicked off an initiative encouraging parents to accept their children coming out.
#OutAndProudParentsDay, which launches today (Tuesday), is a social media drive that aims to help conservative or religious parents who are struggling to understand or accept their LGBT+ children. The day also marks the fifth anniversary of the loss of Dr Nazim Mahmood, the fiancé of Naz & Matt Foundation founder Matthew Mahmood-Ogston, who took his own life two days after his religious family confronted him about his sexuality.
The Naz & Matt Foundation tackles religion-induced homophobia in families. People who come out to unaccepting parents are 2.7 times more likely to experience anxiety and depression, and in some cases suicide, according to the charity.
TBWA has made a film showing mothers and fathers "coming out" as parents of LGBT+ children and talking about how proud they are of them. The video will run on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The charity aims to form a community of accepting parents who use #OutAndProudParentsDay to reflect on their children’s bravery and "come out" themselves. It is encouraging people to share a video or photo with the hashtag to counter negative peer pressure that can often come from religious communities.
Tim Noblett, head of data at TBWA\London and co-chair of Open Pride UK, led the project. He said: "At a time of high-profile protests against LGBT+ education at religious schools, it’s crucial that we drive positive conversation and encourage acceptance. This is why our #OutAndProudParentsDay initiative aims to inspire and support the parents of LGBT+ children who fear community backlash."
Mahmood-Ogston added: "Five years on from losing Naz, we are thankful to TBWA\London for helping us give this tragic moment a more positive meaning. We hope this day will establish itself as an annual event that will help support parents struggling to understand or accept their LGBT+ children.
"'Coming out' to parents is one of the hardest things any LGBTQI+ person will ever have to do. Parents with traditional conservative views or strong religious beliefs often lack the right information and positive guidance to understand what it truly means to be LGBTQI+."