No chiseled bodies, no oiled up chests. Just regular guys, holding hands, about to kiss—and in love. Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) has relaunched the “I Love My Boo” campaign in New York City to fight homophobia and stop the spread of HIV. It features images of real men of color in real moments.
“Young men of color have very little representation,” said Francisco Roque, director of community health at New York City–based GMHC. “This campaign is about trust and intimacy and the way gay men support each other.”
By running the spots in 1,000 subway cars and 150 subway stations in October, GMHC wanted to empower black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) by showing them positive images of themselves—and hopefully, as a result, moving them to choose safer sex.
The campaign debuted a week after a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 major U.S. cities has HIV and nearly half of those men don’t even know it. Of the gay men studied, young men and blacks and Latinos were least likely to know their HIV status.
“In seeing these ads in a public place, we are communicating that black and Latino men matter,” Roque said of the subway campaign. “And if they think they matter, they can make healthier choices regarding HIV/AIDS and sexual health.”
In that spirit, the campaign launched a Facebook page to collect snapshots of couples. It also hit bars and clubs with special “I Love My Boo” condom packs for boos—slang for boyfriends—taking the next step toward loving each other, safely.
Go to gmhc.org for more information.