After being displayed only in bathrooms at gay bars over the past few years, the Gay Men's Health Crisis' "I Love My Boo" campaign is, err, coming out on the subway. The campaign, which prominently features Black and Hispanic gay couples, encourages young gay men to be proud of their sexuality and to get tested for HIV. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed men of color are the least likely to be aware of their HIV status, which the GMHC attributes to public taboos against homosexuality and testing. Is New York ready for this kind of campaign?
According to NY1, we are! Viewer e-mails to the channel show overwhelming support for the ads, especially in the wake of suicides across the country sparked by teen bullying. "Ads that make people accepting of who they are and thereby saving lives is a good idea and should be implemented without question," said Felix of Bay Ridge. "These 'I love my boo' posters may make a lot of people uncomfortable, but they are a step forward reversing all the bigotry that has been ingrained into our psyche," said Pablo of the Lower East Side. However, there were a few criticisms.
Victoria in Greenpoint said the ads could have been more tasteful, and asked, "Is the gay community trying to portray a better image for itself or trying to stoop down to the inappropriate sexual culture that engulfs our society?" And of course, there were the parents wondering if anyone ever stopped to think of the children. Manny from Brooklyn said, "I do not understand, nor do I see a reason to want posters of young, black and hispanic males hugging and kissing on the train for all to see...What is this thing about imposing homosexuality on little children and saying that its for the good for all to see????" But as Lauren from Astoria asked, "For the sake of argument what about all of the weird sex ads that say 'don't let impotence ruin your sex life,' with the couples in bed?" So, are the ads just as harmless as Dr. Zizmor, or should somebody save the children seeing two men with their arms draped around each other? It can't be worse than this.