In an effort to combat the negativity assailing the trans community across the country, an Ohio-based LGBTQ+ organization has come up with an ingenious idea to make sure that messages of support are enormously on display:
Have a Gay Day—a Dayton-based LGBTQ+ with the mission of creating a safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community—very much embraced a “go big” mentality with this creative demonstration of activism.
“The idea came to us because there is so much hate and sending out love is so needed,” said Michael Knote, founder and director of Have a Gay Day. “No matter who sees the signs, they know there is support and love for the transgender community.”
The organization launched a fundraiser on February 26th hoping to raise $2,500 to support buying digital billboard space in Ohio and various other states where the trans community is being attacked via state-sponsored legislation, like Texas, Florida, Indiana and Georgia.
Within hours, subscribers to their Facebook page—boasting an audience of over 1.3 million supporters— swooped in, opened up their wallets, and helped the fundraiser quickly meet its goal. With close to $4,000 raised, the organization was able to purchase space on 15 different billboards.
For the actual designs, they collaborated with organizations like TransOhio to make sure the messages of support struck just the right tone.
“Trans and nonbinary youth across the nation are understandably afraid for their futures right now, and this is a much-needed visible sign of support,” said James Knapp, board chair of TransOhio. “Trans youth won’t be erased.”
In addition to their own designs, Have a Gay Day is working with trans artist Rae Senarighi to craft eye-catching, trans-affirming art for motorists driving by.
Current locations include:
- Arizona- Deer Valley I-17 North and South Facing
- Florida – Orlando on Colonial Drive West Facing
- Georgia- Atlanta I-75 North and South Facing Near Fulton Street
- Louisiana- Lafayette I-10 Near I-49 West Facing
- Mississippi- Pearl Near I-20 and I-49 East Facing
- North Carolina- I-277 949 Brookshire Frwy, West Facing
- Ohio Cincinnati I-75 South Facing Near Ludlow Ave
- Ohio-Dayton I-75 North Facing Near Highway 35
- Oklahoma- Oklahoma City I-40 Facing West Near S. Macarthur Blvd
- South Carolina -Oak Grove, Hwy 1 at Ermine Rd, East Facing
- Tennessee – La Vergne, TN I-24 East and West Facing Near New Paul Road
- Texas- San Antonio Texas 303 W Loop West Facing and East Facing Near Castle Hills
- Texas- Jarrell I-35 North Facing Near Jarrell
- Utah – South Salt Lake Along I-80 East Bound Facing
The billboard plans hit a snag this week as several of the designs were rejected by the billboard owners. Despite the content being message like “You Are Loved” and “Trans Kids Belong,” the billboard designs were deemed to be “divisive” for some locations.
Organizers remain undeterred, though frustrated.
“We will be locating other billboard locations in the same states,” said Knote. “But it’s sad to think words like ‘You Are Loved’ are deemed inappropriate.”
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