Action Alerts

Help Clear the Air for Rainbow Health Initiative: Asking LGBT media to refuse tobacco $ is not censorship!

Reported by Emilia Dunham

You may remember our calls and resources on responding to Camel Snus targeting the LGBT community in LGBT media.  Some of you have responded to your local papers or ran counter-marketing ads with some success of your own.

One organization that we work very closely with, Rainbow Health Initiative in Minnesota, has faced challenges, and as a Network we’re calling on you all to help out. A few weeks ago Rainbow Health Initiative (RHI) sent a letter to the editor of Lavender (the MN LGBT magazine) in response to their recent acceptance of tobacco money in the form of large full color Snus ads. Lavender waited 2 issues then printed a revised form of the letter right next to a full page SNUS ad.  In response, Lavender printed that RHI is advocating censorship AND indicated that RHI advocates claimed that tobacco use is homophobic. Read the edited letter, response and see the tobacco ad RIGHT next to the letters, here.

To help RHI, and to educate Lavender and the LGBT community, please write letters to Lavender in response to the editorial and in response to the issue of Lavender taking tobacco money. Please be civil and fair in these letters, because Lavender is still an LGBT community paper and we don’t want to escalate matters. Click for: Sample Text for Letters to Lavender, and/or consider these talking points:

  • Lavender magazine is taking tobacco money
  • RHI has asked them to stop taking tobacco money via a letter to the editor
  • Lavender edited the letter and then placed in the magazine under the heading “ADVOCATES CENSORSHIP”
  • Lavender included an “Editor’s note” and continued to slam RHI for this request indicating that RHI thought tobacco users were homophopic
  • Lavender placed RHI’s editorial right next to a full page tobacco ad

Again here is the editorial and the ad next to it that ran in a recent edition of Lavender as well as Sample Text for Letters to Lavender

Most importantly!

Please tell us if you sent letters and email copies of the letters to Loretta Worthington, Executive Director of Rainbow Health Initiative at and

As an aside, you may find a new Network video useful. It’s a video, with stats of how the tobacco industry has targetted the LGBT community over the years. This may be something tangible to share with your LGBT colleagues and media groups.

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