Richmond commuters traveling along the Interstate 95/64 corridor on Wednesday were greeted by a new billboard, this one with a more positive and LGBT-affirming message than another billboard that has gained national attention recently.
The new billboard, from the Gay Community Center of Richmond (GCCR), proclaims “We are all born to love,” a message it hopes counters the “Nobody is born gay” billboard “ex-gay therapy” group Parents and Friends of Ex-gays (PFOX), 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 ad 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 over the weekend when hundreds of LGBTQ and ally Richmonders gathered at the GCCR for an impromptu photo shoot.
Article continues belowBilly 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, who identifies as bisexual. “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.”
A second billboard is running the same ad along Southside I-64 East.