The New York Times’s business section recognized Richmond’s LGBTQ tourism campaign in a long form story yesterday.
Covering everything from VA Pride, to the details of the campaign, and what “coming out” means to a city, the article is as thorough as the Times Dispatch’s recent coverage. Read a bit from it below:
The cry “Come out, come out, wherever you are” has taken on new meaning as more Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (L.G.B.T.) come out of the closet, telling friends and family about their sexual orientation. A regional tourism organization is now echoing the process a person goes through in coming out to present a city as a welcoming destination for L.G.B.T. visitors.
The organization, known as Richmond Region Tourism, is declaring that Richmond, Va., is “coming out” as a city where L.G.B.T. tourists will feel comfortable. A campaign that began this month includes a microsite, or special website, with the address RichmondIsOut.com; print advertisements; banner ads online; a blog; a video clip; a presence in social media that include Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and stickers for the windows of stores, shops and businesses that read “OutRVA,” a nod to residents’ name for the city, “RVA.”
The campaign is timed partly to coincide with the 2014 edition of Pridefest, put on each year by Virginia Pride. The event is to be held on Sept. 27 on Brown’s Island, on the James River in Richmond.
The premise of the campaign, which uses “OutRVA” as a logo, is that Richmond is coming out the way a person would, spreading the word through posts in social media or missives that are known as “coming-out letters,” which may be literal, ink-on-paper letters or read aloud on videos.
So the print ads — running in newspapers aimed at L.G.B.T. readers in cities that are not far from Richmond and have large L.G.B.T. populations — begin with salutations like “Dear Atlanta,” “Dear Boston” and “Dear Washington”; include phrases like “So here it is. I’m gay” and “The fact is, I’m gay”; and conclude, “Love, Richmond, Virginia.”
(The ads read like modern-day versions of the famous “Yes, Virginia” letter about Santa Claus, reworded to declare, “Yes, Virginia, the 49 other states and the District of Columbia, Richmond is gay.”)