HIV. It’s not just for Gays anymore. Especially in the South, and in Texas.
Every year, some like 6,000 Dallas County residents are diagnosed with HIV, giving the city the honor of having the highest infection rate in Texas. And the statistics are even higher for gay black men, who are contracting HIV at alarmingly high rates.
So, in an effort to arm the gay community, the black community, and, in fact, all communities, with the rising HIV numbers, Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson launched a public education campaign as part of a broader effort to drive down infection rates. The campaign cuts across lines of age, race, gender, and sexuality.
Thompson has campaigned against Dallas school’s abstinence only programs, and he even used singer Alicia Keys on billboards to encourage women, mainly black women, to get tested, but it’s his newest billboard that has one Dallas politician in a snit.
The billboard—seen above—pictures two smiling, gay black men reminding the gay and black community to get themselves tested, to, and they’ve co-opted a popular Facebook idea, ‘update their status.’
But Dallas City Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill says she believes the ad will have a corrupting influence on the youth of her city, by making it appear that being gay, and apparently black, is acceptable. She seems to suggest that having two gay black men on a billboard will encourage people to be gay.
Yes, she’s a person who believes being gay is a choice, and even though the risk of contracting HIV is on the rise in the black communities of Dallas, this ad will make young black men turn into young gay black men.
In fact, Ms. Jones Hill, what this ad might do, is teach young black men, gay and straight, and young men of any and every color, that they need to get tested; that they need to know their stratus; that they need to be safe. But, in Vonciel Jones Hill’s mind, all the ad does is make it seem that being gay is acceptable.
But it is, ma’am, but it is acceptable.
What isn’t acceptable is your bassackwards view of what gay is, and what HIV is, and who can become infected and how, and what isn’t acceptable is the idea that you seem so grossed out by a picture of a happily gay black couple that you’d just as soon tear down the ad as see it as a way of educating an entire city.