With the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage and nationwide protests about violence against African American men, public discourse about racism and homophobia has reached a tipping point in this country. Both continue to drive the HIV epidemic across the nation. In fact, in New York City African American and Latino men and women comprise 75 percent of new HIV infections, and of those, over half are among gay and bisexual men. To combat the epidemic in populations hardest hit by HIV, homophobia, and racism, GMHC first launched “I Love My Boo” in 2010, a prevention campaign that celebrates positive images of young gay men of color. Instead of presenting hyper-sexualized gay relationships and unrealistic images of chiseled bodies, I Love My Boo features real young men focused on the beauty of love and intimacy.
Originally featured in the bathrooms of gay bars, I Love My Boo was re-launched on December 15, 2014.With over 270 posters in subway stations throughout New York City, it was seen by approximately 1.6 million people. Now located in the heteronormative public sphere, the new I Love My Boo directly challenges homophobia and asks the public to critically think about love and support across racial and sexual orientation boundaries.
Since the launch of the new campaign, many posters were vandalized and defaced with derogatory and homophobic language. More importantly, while there has been hate, there has also been overwhelming support. I Love My Boo posters has fostered much-needed, public discussion about homophobia and racism in New York City and around the country. Even more essential, thousands of young gay and bisexual men of color have seen themselves reflected in messages supporting their health, well-being, and relationships.
From the April/May issue of SeroZero by GMHC. To read the issue as a PDF, click here.