It started as a call for vandalism on Facebook, but before long the paint was repurposed into something a bit more legal.
“I think we should paint over it,” wrote William Mccormack, a restaurant and bar owner here in Richmond. “We will probably get arrested doing so, but allowing it to stay is bullshit.” A long comment thread ensued – how exactly to turn this rage into something constructive was debated extensively.
Mccormack’s fury was eventually culled into a more legal avenue, where he and a number of folks gathered Sunday morning to erect a sign of their own.
“Needless to say, it’s been a fantastically productive day,” wrote Jessica Pick who called the event a peaceful protest.
With about 300 likes and 40 shares, it wasn’t long before Mccormack and friend’s message had reached the masses:
“This is something that is good,” McCormack told WVTR. “This is something that if it makes one 16-year-old kid who is gay and terrified to tell anyone feel better about what he sees on the sign, then that’s all we need to do.”
While McCormack and friends were making statements in person, others took to the internet to coordinate their own message against the ex-gay billboard.
“It is not ok or acceptable to make someone feel like they aren’t welcome to be who they are,” wrote Nick Gianfrancesco of Richmond in a Change.org petition asking PFOX, the group behind the billboard, to take the ad down. “These kind of gay conversion tactics are banned in California and DC and it’s time we do what’s right.”
Gianfrancesco’s request, which has just over 1,000 signatures, is pretty straight forward:
Pull down your disgusting billboard in Richmond, VA and spread your hate somewhere else.