On Friday night, one of those billboards was torn down by vandals.
Here is what the original billboard looked like:
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."
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