LGBT Foundation – Keeping Cases of Monkeypox Down

Challenge

Be Broadcast and LGBT Foundation, the national charity delivering advice, support, and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities, have teamed up to increase understanding of the Monkeypox outbreak in an incredibly challenging environment.

The UK was the first country, outside of endemic African areas, to experience an outbreak. It is now present in over 50 countries worldwide.

Due to a challenging political environment in the UK, the issue has not received the attention and focus it deserves.

As a result, core aspects such as vaccine distribution (of a smallpox variant) have been challenged by a lack of stock, capacity to deliver, and a general lack of official information.

Due to a void of information, misinformation started filling the gaps – leading to increased fear, anxiety and stigma probably driven by the previous years of getting our heads around core health information on COVID.

Therefore, many have been vaccinated – but many have not.

Last week saw the return of full-scale Manchester Pride post-COVID. This is Europe’s largest Pride event – with tens of thousands taking to the streets coming from miles around the North, London, and beyond. A fantastic moment for the city to shine and celebrate – but also a challenge.

Action

Be Broadcast and the LGBT Foundation sought to dispel myths and outline what people attending Pride needed to know and also needed to do ahead of the event, knowing that many would simply not be able to be vaccinated or build enough immunity in the time remaining.

  • Firstly we sought to detail what it is and how it is transmitted.
  • Secondly, we aimed to detail how rare it is – 3,200 cases nationwide. Something we aimed to keep down.
  • Thirdly, we wanted to appeal to those attending to share the information from trusted sources (i.e. Media) with their friends

All of which while handling the increasing stigma carefully. The stigma is summed up perfectly by a letter which landed as media began airing (pictured).

This was achieved through compelling media and influencer relations with partners, close handling of the story, and a framework for outlets to ask questions they were unsure about.

Results

We targeted core outlets across Manchester and the North West as well as the areas people travel from – London, Scotland, the Midlands, the broader North and Wales. We asked outlets within the region to share footage and audio collected at our outside broadcast to help secure packages nationwide.

Finally, we built a platform which allowed Monkeypox to be seen through the eyes of people attending. We asked a group of young men to talk to media about their plans for Pride – who they planned to see, whether they had things like sun cream sorted for hot weather and outfits sorted etc

And whether they had shared information about Monkeypox with their mates.

In short, we aimed to deliver the health information and normalise it to temper panic, increase behaviour that would avoid spikes and allow people to enjoy the event.

Head of Communications at LGBT Foundation Matt Bellfield said, “The support provided by the team at Be Broadcast has been incredible. Monkeypox is a major concern for LGBTQ+ people but they worked with our team to make sure key safety messages were out there ahead of Manchester Pride. Broadcast and media opportunities were vital in making sure we broke out of our immediate networks and reach as many people as possible.”

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