The OutRVA campaign launches today with advertisements in gay-focused publications in the form of coming-out letters from Richmond.
“We’ve always been close. Like ‘109 miles on I-95’ close,” reads one of the ads for the Washington market.
“There’s something I need to tell you, though,” the ad says. “Something that I’ve known for a while that you might not have picked up on. I know you’ve been busy running the country and everything. So here it is. I’m gay. Love, Richmond.”
Many LGBT people use coming-out letters to communicate their identity to friends and loved ones.
“We thought coming-out letters would be a great way for us, as a destination, to share that Richmond is a welcoming place for LGBT travelers,” O’Donnell said.
“Learning that Richmond is an LGBT-friendly destination might be a surprise,” she said. “The letters offer a personal and powerful way for the Richmond area to communicate this.”
As part of the campaign, the tourism agency sent a Richmond-comes-out letter to television host Ellen DeGeneres, inviting her to visit in time for the Richmond Pride Festival on Sept. 27. A package of Richmondesque goodies — including a shirt and tie from the Richmond-based high-end shirt-maker Ledbury and gifts from the Mongrel and O’Virginia stores in Carytown — went with the letter.