RICHMOND, Va. — Two Months after his face graced a Richmond interstate billboard, an “ex-gay” model is back, but this time he’s got a different message for Virginia commuters.
In December, model Kyle Roux of Cape Town, South Africa, had his image featured on a billboard (below, right) for conversion therapy proponents PFOX — Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX). But it turned out that Roux is not only not a twin, he’s actually a proud, openly gay man.
Roux said the pictures were taken in a photo shoot nearly a decade ago. He said he signed away the rights and was told the pictures would be used in commercial and corporate ads and brochures.
Now, with the help of the Kansas based LGBTQ-non-profit Planting Peace, his likeness is back in Richmond promoting a new message – “Dear PFOX: Identical twins? I’m not. I’m gay. Regardless of what you believe I was born gay. And I’m proud of who I am.”
Roux expressed his dislike for the use of his image back when the story broke headlines nationwide.
Today, he tells the Huffington Post he was proud to be a part of the new Planting Peace billboard campaign.
“I’m a proud and openly gay man,” Roux told The Huffington Post in an email. “I’m no scientist, but from my own life experiences, and those of my peers, I do know that being gay is not optional.”
Planting Peace has a history of combatting anti-LGBTQ prejudice, even going so far as to purchase a house in Topeka, Kan., across from where the vocal anti-gay group Westboro Baptist Church is based.
The group reached out to Roux not long after it was revealed he was gay and proposed the idea of a counter billboard. The latest billboard is just down the interstate from where PFOX’s billboard once sat.
Planting Peace’s is not the first group to erect a billboard to protest PFOX’s message.
Not long after PFOX’s billboard went up, the Gay Community Center of Richmond held a photo shoot for their own billboard, inviting anyone who wanted to participate to stand for a group photo. The image was then displayed on a nearby electronic billboard, boasting the message “We are all born to love”.