So What? Mr Gay’s anti-homophobia campaign goes global

AN anti-homophobia campaign launched in South Shields is attracting the attention of some famous faces. Mr Gay World Stuart Hatton’s So What campaign has gone global. VICKI NEWMAN found out more.

A HOST of famous faces and people from around the world are getting behind an anti-homophobia campaign launched in South Shields.

A supporter of Mr Gay World Stuart Hatton's So What campaign wrote the slogan in the sand at a beach in Australia.

A supporter of Mr Gay World Stuart Hatton's So What campaign wrote the slogan in the sand at a beach in Australia.

Scores of people have already posed for a “selfie” in support of Stuart Hatton’s campaign.

The 29-year-old, who was named Mr Gay World last year, is inviting people of all ages and sexualities to show their support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by posing for pictures with the name of the campaign written on the palms of their hands.

Stuart, a model and co-principal dancer at his family’s dance studio, the Hatton Academy of Dance, in Commercial Road, South Shields, said: “Basically, all that it is telling the world is that some of us have got green eyes, some of us have got blue eyes, some of us have got blonde hair, some of us have got ginger hair, some of us are straight, some of us are gay – so what? Does it really matter nowadays?

“There’s so much hatred in the world out there that I think it’s come to a point now when we just need to shrug our shoulders and say ‘so what?’.”

Since its launch, the campaign has taken off around the world and is now gaining support from some well-known faces.

Among them are TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, S Club 7 singer Jon Lee, drag queen Adore Delano, who appeared on American reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, ITV news presenters Pam Royle and Kenny Toal, and ITV Tyne Tees weatherman Ross Hutchinson.

The campaign has also had support in other countries, such as Australia, the Philippines, France, and the US.

Stuart said: “It really feels like the message is getting out there, and it’s amazing that so many people have wanted to get on board.

“To have some well-known faces supporting it is fantastic too. The fact that high-profile people feel strongly enough to support the message is just brilliant.

“Some people have been nominating others to do a ‘selfie’ and who knows, we could get some really big stars doing it too.

“It’s amazing to have this support for the LGBT community and to see the campaign taking off around the world is just unbelievable.

“I’ve been to visit Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany, and the Mr Gays there are all doing their bit to spread the word.”

Stuart also says he’s been approached by two documentary crews who want to make a film about the campaign.

He added: “The thing I love about this campaign is that something so simple can say something so powerful.

“I really wanted it to take off as well as it has and I’m just so pleased that it’s gone this far in just a couple of weeks.

“It’s 2015 and being gay shouldn’t be a problem, but in some countries it means the death penalty.

“Hopefully, this campaign can start to make a change to the way some people think.”

To show your support online, tweet a picture of yourself with ‘So What?’ written on the palm of your hand to @WeSaySoWhat using #SoWhat.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki