Rod 2.0 readers may recall the "I Love My Boo" campaign developed by Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City. The campaign is designed to fight homophobia, increase visibility of gay men of color and encourage safe sex. It features beautiful images of young Black and Latino men embracing and were displayed on telephone kiosks across New York City. The campaign campaign has been updated and debuted last week across New York City subways, reports the Daily News.
"The message is also about protecting ourselves. It's about responsibility, being responsible, getting tested, knowing your status, talking to your partner," said Francisco Roque, the director of community health for Gay Mens Health Crisis.
The "I Love My Boo" campaign [also] addresses the shocking rate of HIV infection among men of color. A recent study found 28% of gay black men are infected with HIV, compared with 18% of Hispanics and 16% of white men, according to the Centers for Disease Control. "Part of what this is supporting is making young men feel good about themselves," Roque said. "If they feel good about themselves they're more likely to make healthier choices as related to safer sex."
One of the models on the posters, Derrick Briggs, who is featured with "his boo" Jaszi Alejandro, said the decision to pose for the campaign wasn't easy. "It took a lot of courage to do this. I knew this was going to be huge," said Briggs, 29, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. "Gay men come in all shapes, forms and colors... . This campaign is showing there are different types of gay people in the world and we exist." The posters also include taglines that read, "We're about trust, respect, and commitment" and "We're PROUD of who we are and how we LOVE."
It's an excellent campaign and the high-traffic NYC subway locations will increase visibility of Black and Latino same sex couples, which are rarely seen in the general population. The messaging is also very timely because Black and Latino gay/bisexual youth have seen the largest increase in HIV infections across the country.
The poster for the new "I Love My Boo" campaign debuted at AIDS 2010 in Vienna and was presented by Francisco Roque. It was fabulous presentation and it was great to spend some time with Francisco and his partner, GLAAD's Rashad Robinson. Congratulations to Francisco Roque, GMHC and activist/promoter Derrick L. Briggs for the campaign.