Triangle Journal News: On Friday evening September 25, passersby and community members began reporting to Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) that one of the billboards erected by MGLCC honoring National Coming Out Day had been destroyed.
The billboard, which contained a picture of community member Tim Smith dressed in his marine uniform proclaiming “I’m gay, and I defended your freedom,” was completely torn from the Clear Channel Billboard frame, exposing remnants of prior postings. No identifiable portions of the MGLCC billboard remained.
The MGLCC billboard campaign honoring National Coming Out Day on October 11 has been underway for one week and will continue for three more weeks. The initiative aims to clarify to the Mid-South that our community is not afraid of being out and that we are unashamed of being who we are. The billboard that was defaced is one of five erected throughout the city as part of the initiative. MGLCC Executive Director Will Batts, who is in Philadelphia attending a national conference for LGBT community centers, was contacted by phone by Triangle Journal and informed of the defacement. He stated, “Some people choose tactics of violence and intimidation in an attempt to silence minority voices. What will happen, though, is that our voices will become louder and stronger and we will become even more relentless in our fight for full equality.”