A young woman who was asked to prove her homosexuality by kissing another girl, wants people to recognise the fine line between banter and bullying.
Carleigh-Ann Portelli says she’s faced years of prejudice since coming out at the age of 16, often by those who justify their behaviour as being nothing more than a joke.
Now the 25-year-old actor has produced a short film with Fixers to show people that homophobic abuse is no laughing matter.
‘It happened in class one time,' says Carleigh-Ann, from Gravesend, Kent.
'I was cornered by a group of students who told me to make out with a girl. They thought it was funny, but it really wasn’t - it was embarrassing.
‘Thankfully my friends stepped in, but it was an awful experience. Nobody should have to prove their sexuality.’
The film, which is based on Carleigh- Ann's own experiences, features a reconstruction of an event at school where a girl is ridiculed for being gay.
Watch the film at the top of this page.
She says: ‘I’ve been called ‘dyke’ and spat at in the street. People throw verbal abuse around because they think it’s funny.
‘It’s quite demeaning and makes others think they can do the same.’
Carleigh-Ann plans to share the film on social media to spread her message. She says: ‘I hope this campaign will make others think twice about the impact their words and actions can have.
‘We are making big steps in changing attitudes around homosexuality, but there is more to be done.’