Monday, September 28, 2009

Memphis Billboard Destroyed By Vandals

Last week we blogged about a series of five billboards that the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center (MGLCC) put up in honor of National Coming Out Day.

On Friday night, one of those billboards was torn down by vandals.

Here is what the original billboard looked like:

Here is what it looks like now:

The following is a press release from MGLCC President Heidi Williams in response to the recent vandalism:

"Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) recently launched a billboard campaign in advance of National Coming Out day to raise awareness and understanding about the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Memphians. We are your neighbors and we proclaimed with the billboards that we are unafraid and unashamed! Last night that gesture of openness was met with violence as one of the billboards was ripped to shreds–a chilling act of hatred.

We choose not to be stopped by fear; instead, our community unites in solidarity and the knowledge that we too deserve equality.

Although we are saddened by yesterday’s hateful expression of intolerance, we are proud of the local Memphian that chose to be the face on the billboard. He eagerly served our country and was forced out of the military under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. The billboard featured him as a proud marine and displayed his brave message “I’m gay and I protected your freedom.” This bravery was met with disrespect.

MGLCC is planning a unity rally to take place next weekend to show Memphis that in the face of discrimination we can peacefully unite with a message of strength, love and hope. We have formally requested that the Memphis Police Department open an investigation into the destruction of the billboard."

For more coverage on this story, click here or here.

1 comment:

Little Rainbow Comics said...

Wow - that is amazing that this happens still in this day and age - I hope they can replace it but I imagine it will be torn down again :(

My thanks to the brave Marine who put his face on the message! Here's hoping the future will be brighter.

'The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.' - Abraham Lincoln

We will continue to pursue equality.