FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Krishna Stone, GMHC, 646-280-5948
Darryl Hannah, GLAAD, 646-871-8012
New York, NY — Today, leadership of community-based organizations, activists, representatives for elected officials and clergy will join together to celebrate GMHC's "I Love My Boo" campaign which will be posted in 1,000 subway cars and 150 subway stations during the month of October. Guest speakers include: Marjorie Hill, PhD, GMHC's Chief Executive Officer; Francisco Roque, GMHC's Director of Community Health; Reverend Melvin Miller; and Jaszi Alejandro, Derrick L. Briggs, Tyrone Wallace and Sammi Smith who are all spokesmodels for the campaign. Leslie "ButtaFlySoul" Taylor, spoken word artist and vocalist will perform. Gay men will be invited to dance as couples to symbolize the hope for increased visibility. Today's celebration is bittersweet because six teenagers committed suicide due to anti-gay bullying in the last four weeks.
"I Love My Boo" is a multifaceted social marketing campaign that thoughtfully increases the visibility of black and Latino gay men. This campaign educates the community at-large, and promotes acceptance and understanding in a climate where gay men of color are seldom represented favorably in the media. "The I Love My Boo" campaign speaks to, and celebrates, gay men of color by highlighting their strengths and resiliencies. Rather than only sexualizing gay relationships, with chiseled bodies and glossy imagery, the beauty of this campaign is that it features intimacy and focuses on what is possible for gay men of color as they express trust, respect and commitment for one another.
"This campaign reinforces GMHC's ongoing commitment--since our earliest days--in addressing homophobia and reducing the spread of HIV among gay men," said Dr. Hill. "The campaign directly challenges homophobia, and acknowledges the value of love, sex, desire, and relationships in the lives of gay men while encouraging dialogue."
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new analysis indicating that 1 in 5 gay and bisexual men in a study of 21 major U.S. cities is infected with HIV, and that nearly half of these men (44%) are unaware of their status. Of the gay men studied, young men, blacks and Latinos were least likely to be aware of their status. Other findings of the report underscore the racial disparities that exist among gay men, with black gay men most disproportionately affected by the virus, and higher rates of HIV prevalence among communities with lower rates of education and income.
GMHC continues to develop and advocate for innovative and expanded prevention approaches that:
GMHC is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. We provide prevention and care services to men, women and families that are living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS in New York City. We advocate for scientific, evidence-based public health solutions for hundreds of thousands worldwide.