36 pro-LGBT billboards have appeared in Western New York, and the locals it seems are talking.
They went up last week, billboards featuring faceless figures, proudly proclaiming “We are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” and work and worship in the community. Some downtown workers weren’t sure what to make of it.
Camelia said, “The fact they’re all black it’s kind of racist because there’s white and Mexican gays, whatever else.”
In Niagara Falls, the same billboard made others wonder if it puts the stamp of approval on a gay lifestyle.
Patrick Desmond said, “I think there’s much more important things then putting ads of what your personal life is about.”
Alecia said, “It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Christopher Voltz expected the mixed reaction. He’s a founding member of the Pride Center of WNY, which sponsored the awareness campaign.
“We thought this was a great way to put it out there that we are a part of the community, a significant part of the community and valuable to the community,” said Voltz.
Voltz insists the dark silhouette isn’t racist. It’s a design element to show off the rainbow colors of the t-shirts. However, Voltz added, “There’s a great deal more stigma around LGBT communities in communities of color.”
The timing of the campaign is coincidental. As you may know, same sex marriages will be allowed in New York by the end of the month. Al Hollingsworth’s admitted that the billboard made him pause to think.
“You want to hear something, I just found out my daughter was a lesbian after 14 years with a man. It hits home a little bit,” said Hollingsworth.
Voltz said, “A lot of folks may not know they have family members and co-workers who identify as LGBT. We think it’s important to get the message out there. If it creates conversation, that’s not a bad thing.”
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