Everyone has a story. With the #HearOurStory campaign, Egale is asking the LGBT community and its allies to share their tales online.
#HearOurStory is a social media campaign created to promote acceptance of LGBT people and to show what it’s really like to be a member of LGBT communities across Canada. Submissions range from stories of empowerment to tales of everyday struggles.
The campaign launched in August and accepts submissions in any medium, including videos, photos and essays. The original deadline for submissions was Nov 3, but Egale has now extended it to Nov 14 because the response has been so positive.
“We have people calling us to tell us their stories and looking for help,” says Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale. “HearOurStory is certainly an awareness-building campaign and project for the broader Canadian society, but it’s also to let our own community know that we still have a long way to go.”
Classroom bullying and workplace harassment are some of the reasons people contact Egale, and it was part of what inspired the campaign, Kennedy says. “What we wanted to do was to capture those stories in a way that would build awareness across the country and potentially internationally.”
That means putting a lot of effort into outreach; advertising agency Route Eleven was brought on to help spread the word about the campaign.
“We’ve put a huge amount of our time and resources into reaching out outside of Ontario,” says Ryan Tremblay, a partner at Route Eleven. “Because what we want to do is give a voice to people that don’t usually have a platform to speak.”
“We’re hoping to create a national dialogue about our community and about the relevance for human rights in our community and in Canada,” he says.
Many have already contributed to the campaign. Tremblay says people are motivated by a need for support for themselves and a wish to support others. “People are really thirsty for a connection to their communities and the people that live in their communities.”
Egale is counting on that thirst for more submissions.
How it all ends, however, is still up in the air. Egale is considering wrapping up the campaign by featuring a select video or several videos in its #HearOurStory documentary series. “We’re looking at some options right now,” says Kennedy, who expects a decision in a few months.
If there’s continued interest in the campaign, there’s a good chance it won’t end with that Nov 14 deadline. “If we have the resources to continue the project, then we would love to do that,” she says. “I don’t think there’s an end to hearing people’s stories.”