I was on the M train last week coming from a long film shoot, and I gagged when I spotted these "I Love My Boo" ads on the train which showed something I'm not used to seeing. Then coming from Chauncey D's Halloween party, I saw a different poster on the F train. The posters featured attractive black & latino youths in a state of sensual embrace, which took me by surprise. Upon seeing this, I couldn't keep my eyes on the poster and vowed to look into this a bit more. The I Love My Boo campaign, created by GMHC in my hometown of NYC. here's what the NY Daily News had to say about this encouraging message designed to fight homophobia, increase visibility of gay men of color, and HIV prevention:
"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 (picture 1), 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."
This is not something someone such as myself and many gay men of color are used to seeing especially in a city as large as NYC, and I applaud not only GMHC for being brave enough to show another side of gay life (that networks such as LOGO and countless others refuse to acknowledge) but for couple Derrick Briggs and his boyfriend Jaszi Alejandro having the balls to post for a campaign and have their faces plastered all over New York City. It's a bit of a taste of when celebs go through after they come out of the closet. A little notoriety never hurt anyone.