Richmond’s LGBTQ Community responds with “We are all born to love” billboard
Those of you stuck in traffic along the 95/64 corridor might have noticed a new message as you sat in your cars around 8 AM this morning, the Gay Community Center of Richmond (GCCR) launched their billboard with a positive message.
The billboard reads “We are all born to love,” a message hoping to counter the ex-gay therapy group Parents and Friends Of Ex-gays’s (PFOX) “Nobody is born gay” billboard which can be seen about a mile down the road.
“We are so proud as to how our community rallied to address this issue,” said Bill Harrison, Executive Director at the GCCR. “This ordeal has been an excellent way to raise awareness of the possible harms of so called reparative therapy.”
Harrison said this is one of a many billboard which will run in the coming weeks. Unlike the PFOX billboard, the GCCR’s is digital, so it will runs on a 10 second cycle as one of 6 advertisers in each billboard slot.
The message will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the ad being visible about 1300 times a day.
The GCCR doesn’t pay for the add on their property because the non-profit owns the billboard space. Lamar has a partnership with non-profits; if they do not sell the inventory space, they donate the ads. Additional ads supporting Richmond’s LGBTQ community are expected in the coming weeks, also free of charge.
The image for the billboard was taken this past weekend when hundreds of LGBTQ and ally Richmonders gathered at the GCCR for an impromptu photo shoot.
Billy Flynn is one of the people visible on the billboard. He said he came out to the photo shoot because he was offended by the gay conversion billboard which he said promotes hate and ignorance.
“I thought the idea of Richmond coming together to make a gesture was a great thing,” said Flynn. “I felt it was important to do something as I have friends and family members who are transgender, who are gay… good people who are thought less of simply for being who they are.”
Flynn identifies as a bi-sexual, but he’s been in a monogamous heterosexual relationship for 14 years. He said he doesn’t get discriminated against for his sexuality because of this relationship, but he witnesses others being targeted on a regular basis.
“My hope is that the billboard will humanize what many see as a faceless group,” said Flynn. “People who live an “alternative” lifestyle are just like everyone else. Also, I have seen people change their mind when someone they know turns out to be one of “them”, real people on the billboard puts a face on a group that can not be ignored.”
A second billboard is running the same ad along Southside I-64 East, .4 miles West of Laburnum Avenue Exit, Facing West.
It will run from today to 12/21/14.
We’ll have more details about the billboard as the day progresses.
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