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Adverts attack homophobia

EUROPE'S FIRST campaign against homophobia aimed at the general public is to be launched in Britain this week, with adverts in the News of the World and Loaded magazine paid for by the Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Under the slogan "It's prejudice that's queer", the press adverts will run in a number of publications and will be followed up by a poster campaign and a cinema commercial. The campaign will try to undo the attitudes of the two-thirds of British adults who say they hold homophobic views. According to a 1996 survey, 70 per cent of gay people say they have been physically attacked.

Adverts in different publications will be directed at parents and teachers as well as the general public. Teachers in particular are being chosen because homophobia is used as a form of bullying in schools. A study by the Institute of Education found that 82 per cent of teachers are aware of homophobic bullying in schools.

The Terrence Higgins Trust is funding the campaign because it believes homophobia damages gay people's self- esteem. Nick Partridge, chief executive of the charity, said: "Homophobia harms the health of gay people physically, mentally and emotionally. In particular it can affect their confidence and ability to negotiate safer sex, a key concern in preventing the spread of HIV."