My friend in Memphis (just 2 hours from my hometown) just told me about this foolishness.
Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center launched a National Coming Out Day billboard campaign.
Within days, one of them was defaced. An investigation will happen and Heidi Cranford Williams from the MGLCC had this to say:
We choose not to be stopped by fear; instead, our community unites in solidarity and the knowledge that we too deserve equality.Stay strong, y'all. Hopefully, the cowards will be caught
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.
We are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender and we are proud. We will continue to champion the messages that the billboards were purchased to convey:
We want the Mid-South to know about MGLCC and the many life-saving programs we offer.
- We want to show our neighbors that we are an integral part of the community, of schools, of businesses, of churches and of families.
- We want to encourage our gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual brothers and sisters to come out whenever possible. Coming out is an act of courage, of power and of freedom.
- We want to show that we are unafraid and unashamed to be honest about ourselves.
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.