Billboards have always played a surprising role in LGBTQ+ rights

NC HB2 billboard
A billboard mocking North Carolina's regressive policies. Photo: Equality House

In car-crazy America, a billboard is one of the most effective ways to communicate your message. Not only are they relatively cheap, but they also reach a lot of people who are captive audiences. And frequently, billboards allow people to make their point repeatedly as commuters travel the same route daily.

Billboards have been a useful tool in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights too. They’ve helped to push back against far-right politicians, advocate for equality, and provide some humor during tense times.

They can also provide awareness when a company refuses to post a pro-LGBTQ+ billboard, highlighting the difficulties LGBTQ+ people can have trying to do mundane things — like give a business money.

Though their topics vary and they’ve been placed around the nation, the following billboards all have one thing in common: They’ve shown support for the LGBTQ+ community.

A Republican put up a hateful anti-trans billboard. Neighbors fought back with love

Billboard with a blue sky in the background
via Gay Star News

Residents in San Bernardino County, California came together after Republican congressional candidate Tim Donnelly put up an anti-transgender billboard.

“The way we see it, Donnelly’s billboard was an act of hate, targeting our transgender neighbors,” the pro-trans community group said in a statement.

They pooled money and put up another billboard that said, “Transgender people deserve health care, support, justice, safety, love.”

“Our focus is making sure that our trans neighbors know they are supported, appreciated, and celebrated in our community,” the group added.

Instagram “Rupublicans” drag the Texas governor

The team behind the popular Instagram parody account “Rupublicans” took their show on the road after raising thousands of dollars to put up a big billboard near the Texas state capitol. The sign decried Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) ban on drag shows.

The group posted a mockup of the billboard on Instagram with a plea for donations. Their plea helped them blow past their $10,000 goal. The billboard mockup read, “Mind your wigs, not our gigs, Greg!”

“Drag isn’t just lip-syncing for our lives; it’s art, it’s heart, and oh honey, it’s protest,” the Rupublicans posted on social media. “To those in power serving up false narratives like an overcooked wig at a drag brunch, listen up: we’re here, we’re queer, and we ain’t going anywhere…”

Just say it

As Florida debated a law that prevented teachers and school officials from including any mention of LGBTQ+ people in classrooms, a liberal organization put up billboards all over the state to respond.

One of the billboards only featured two short words: “Say gay.” A second one just said, “Gay” in all-capital letters.

The super PAC Southern Progress paid for the billboards denouncing the since-passed law for one month in the cities of Tallahassee, Orlando, and Jacksonville. The signs were seen over a million times.

Massachusetts and New York City troll Florida

one of the NYC signs

As Florida’s attacks on the queer community continued, Massachusetts and New York City got in on the clapback by highlighting that they welcomed and supported LGBTQ+ people.

“This political showmanship of attempting to demonize a particular group or community is unacceptable and we are going to loudly show our support and say to those who are living in Florida, ‘Listen, we want you here in New York’,” NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) said when the city announced the campaign.

Massachusetts also posted similar signs in Texas while state legislators debated anti-LGBTQ+ measures similar to Florida’s.

Showing the love

Have a gay day, billboards, LGBTQ, transgender, campaign
Have a Gay Day / @transpainter One of Have a Gay Day’s billboards

To counteract the hatred of and distress caused by a slew of anti-trans legislation that swept the country in 2022, the group Have a Gay Day erected billboards in dozens of states, including Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, the Carolinas, and Indiana,

The billboards — designed by transgender mural painter Rae Senarighi — bore messages like “You are loved” against a rainbow flower background and “Be careful who you hate, it could be someone you love,” alongside a heart in the pink, white, and blue colors of the transgender flag.

“We were tired of seeing hate focused towards the Transgender Community. We wanted to answer that Hate with Love. We wanted to answer that Hate with Kindness. We wanted to answer that Hate with Hope,” the group said when announcing their campaign.

The massive trans flag in Alabama

A billboard sporting the trans flag now greets GOP legislators in Birmingham.
Magic City Acceptance Center A billboard sporting the trans flag now offers hope to trans kids in Birmingham, Alabama.

billboard sporting the trans flag beside Highway 280 in Birmingham, Alabama implored state legislators to stop persecuting transgender youth. Instead, it told the right-wing lawmakers they should #ProtectAlabamaTransKids.

Magic City Acceptance Center, which serves queer youth, was behind the project. The reaction from trans kids themselves has made the center’s message worthwhile, even if no hardhearted Republicans changed their minds.

“We have wanted to do something that was an out-loud, massive-scale show of presence — to show that trans people are here, that trans youth are here, and that there are people in Alabama that care about these issues and are fighting on behalf of trans young people,” Lauren Jacobs, the center’s youth programming director, said.

Don't forget to share:

Good News is your section for queer joy! Subscribe to our newsletter to get the most positive and fun stories from the site delivered to your inbox every weekend. Send us your suggestions for uplifiting and inspiring stories.

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Oklahoma hires Libs of TikTok’s Chaya Raichik to help censor public school books

Previous article

Donald Trump falters in New Hampshire primary, showing cracks in GOP base

Next article