One of five billboards featuring messages in observance of National Coming Out Day which were posted in the Memphis area was torn to shreds by vandals on Friday night. The billboard, posted at Poplar and Highland streets, featured a gay soldier who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and read "I'm gay and I protected your freedom."
Below, what the billboard looks like today.
The billboards were created by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
WMC-TV Memphis reports: "The campaign's purpose is to promote understanding of issues
affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community in the
Mid-South. Police have not said whether there are suspects in custody. Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center President Heidi Williams says she's appalled by such an act of hatred. 'I
know that they intended to silence us with hate. However, we are
choosing to unite and come over that with a stronger voice, and a
message that we are here – and we deserve equality as well as everyone
else,' she said."
The MGLCC is planning a rally next weekend in response to the vandalism.