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Hundreds Gather To Protest Virginia 'Ex-Gay' Billboard - VIDEO

Richmond

Hundreds of people gathered at the Gay Community Center of Richmond yesterday to show their support for the city’s LGBT community after a billboard supporting “ex-gay” therapy was erected in the Virginia city by anti-gay activist group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), reports GAYRVA.com.

PfoxPFOX claimed that the billboard with the words “Nobody is born gay”, which was based on dodgy interpretations of two studies that purportedly deny the existence of a “gay gene”. 

Attending Sunday’s demonstration of support, Richmond resident and mother of two Terra Courtland said it was important for gay families to “show we’re just like everybody else, just trying to raise our kids and live here.”

Another resident, Jason Coast, who identified himself as a straight ally, said “if some of us are being discriminated against, then we all are.”

Following the erection of the billboard, which is set run through the holiday season, Virginia Del Patrick Hope released information about a bill he plans to bring before the 2015 General Assembly to combat ex-gay therapy on minors. The damaging practice has already been banned in New Jersey, California and Washington, D.C.

“Out and proud” gay model Kyle Roux has spoken of his shock at being used for the billboard.

Watch a report on the PFOX billboard, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Model Featured on 'Ex Gay' Virginia Billboard Is Neither 'Ex-Gay' Nor a Twin: VIDEO

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Richmond, Virginia's new "Nobody Is Born Gay' sign from 'ex-gay' activist group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) has drawn the ire of the model featured on the billboard, who says he's quite happy being gay and not actually a twin like the sign would have people believe. 

Richmond's WWBT reports:

RouxSpeaking via Skype, Kyle Roux said he was shocked his image was used. Especially since he calls himself an "out and proud" gay man. 

"I was obviously quite shocked, so that why I decided to send you guys an email saying hey, I'm that guy in that billboard," Roux said.

Roux hasn't thought about that photo shoot in nearly a decade. He says the pictures used on the billboard were part of a stock photo shoot he did. Roux signed away the rights and was told the pictures would be used in commercial and corporate ads and brochures. [...]

"It's actually quite a big thing that there is this kind of discrimination and borderline hate speech going on, you know," he said.

Roux says he's worried about teens struggling with their sexuality, and he hopes to empower others. 

DoyleChristian Doyle, a self-professed 'ex-gay' and former board member of PFOX also chimed in on the story, saying Roux is irrelevant to what the billboard is trying to accomplish.

"The issue isn't the photo on a the billboard, but the actual science." 

And by "actual science" Doyle presumably means "thoroughly discredited, pseudo-scientific soul poison"

Watch a segment of Roux's interview with WWBT, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Ex-Gay' Organization Erects Billboard In Virginia Claiming 'Nobody Is Born Gay' - VIDEO

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A Virginia-based “ex-gay” activist group has erected a billboard in Richmond along a major state highway with the words “Nobody is born gay”, reports Huffington Post.

The group behind the billboard Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) has publicly supported the notion of “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” in the past, despite the fact that the harmful practice has been condemned by the American Psychological Association and banned in two states and Washington, D.C.

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Bizarrely, PFOX says that the billboard aims to “increase others’ understanding and acceptance of the ex-gay community.”

The billboard refers to two studies that purportedly deny the existence of a “gay gene”. This interpretation of the study has been refuted by its main researcher.

In response to the billboard, Bill Harrison of the Richmond Gay Community said:

"We do not know why people are heterosexual. Maybe when we figure that out, we can determine why some people are not. What we do know is that this type of therapy has caused many people to commit suicide."

A representative for Lamar Advertising, the group that owns the billboard said:

“It is in the best interest of our company and the communities we serve to accept advertising copy openly. We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented.”

The billboard is set to run through January 4th.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

In 2012, a school district in Maryland defended the distribution of flyers from PFOX to high school students.

Continue reading "'Ex-Gay' Organization Erects Billboard In Virginia Claiming 'Nobody Is Born Gay' - VIDEO" »


Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Launches LGBT Tourism Task Force - VIDEO

6a01a3fd2097df970b01bb07addc44970d-250wiVirginia has announced the formation of the state’s first LGBT Tourism Task Force, reports Loudon Times.

Made public during the Virginia-1 Tourism Summit in Reston yesterday by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, the task force aims to showcase Virginia as a gay-friendly state for both residents and visitors.

According to state tourism officials, the task force is the second of its kind in the nation and the first in the South.

Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones will head up the panel comprised of “industry stakeholders, LGBT community members and business leaders,” said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe’s address focused on the broad impact the $21.5 billion tourism industry has on state's economy:

“Tourism plays an important role in attaining that goal, building communities, and helping drive the new Virginia economy.” We have an opportunity to build upon the progress Virginia made this year in achieving marriage equality and ensure that visitors across the globe know that the commonwealth is open and welcoming to all.”

Jones added:

“Tourism has consistently proven to be a sound investment for Virginia. It is an instant revenue generator, channeling millions of dollars into the Commonwealth’s coffers and into the revenue stream to local governments.”

Watch McAuliffe speak at the conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

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What's Next for Virginia Marriage Equality Plaintiffs Tim Bostic and Tony London? - VIDEO

Bostic_london

You may recognize Tony London [left], a Norfolk real estate agent and Tim Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor as one of the two gay couples at the center of the case overturning Virginia's gay marriage ban. 

With marriage equality the law of the land in Virginia now, the two men sat down with The Virginian-Pilot to catch up, share why they fought for the right to marry in the first place, and reveal details about their church wedding next May. They also share how they met each other.

Give it a watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriage in Seven New States: VIDEO

Holder

Responding to the Supreme Court's marriage decision last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will begin recognizing same-sex marriages taking place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Idaho - with additional states likely to follow.

Said Holder:

“I am pleased to announce that the federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages now taking place in the affected states, and I have directed lawyers here at the Department of Justice to work with our colleagues at agencies across the Administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible.  We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled.

He continued:

The steady progress toward LGBT equality we’ve seen – and celebrated – is important and historic.  But there remain too many places in this country where men and women cannot visit their partners in the hospital, or be recognized as the rightful parents of their own adopted children; where people can be discriminated against just because they are gay.  Challenges to marriage restrictions are still being actively litigated in courts across the country.  And while federal appeals courts have so far been unanimous in finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, if a disagreement does arise, the Supreme Court may address the question head-on.  If that happens, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality. 

Watch Holder's full remarks HERE.

In addition to the seven states above, marriage equality has also come to West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona (announced earlier today).

Gay marriage began in Alaska but has since been put on hold while the state appeals a pro-equality ruling to the Supreme Court (expect marriages to resume later today)

A federal court ruling in the challenge to Wyoming's gay marriage ban is expected Monday, with Governor Matt Mead saying the state will respect whatever decision is made.


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