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Feb 14 2006

St. Louis: Gateway to Homophobia

Greetings, STL homeys. A special valentine just for you guys:

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ — St. Louis residents will see four new billboard signs this month that feature pictures of former homosexuals challenging popular myths about homosexuality with the words “I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How.” Exodus International, the largest network of former homosexuals in the world, sponsored the highway billboard ads in anticipation of Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conference — a public seminar about the roots and causes of homosexuality to be held at the First Evangelical Free Church on Feb. 25.

Who wants to go on a field trip for your old uncle Twisty and get a photo of one of these in situ? Choose from four handy locations:

170 at the Rock Road (do they even let homos drive on the Rock Road?)
40 East at Kingshighway
44 at Kingshighway
55 at Lindbergh

Feel free to get out your little pink triangle hats and protest their little gay-bashing get-together, too.

[thanks, Iballeye]

24 comments

  1. renee

    I’ll be in St.Louis on business at the end of this month. I know that’s a ways off yet, but I’m a shutterbug and I’ll definitely try to get a shot of at least one of these monstrosities for you, if no one else beats me to it.

  2. AoT

    sounds like a job for the Billboard Liberation Front.

  3. Ron O.

    I’ll be there this weekend, bringing our 6 month old to meet his great-granny and various distant cousins. Can’t make any promises, except I’ll try. Granny actually lives in the burbs on the IL side of the Mississippi, but I’ll check a map & see if we can’t do it on the way to somewhere.

  4. Becker

    I was quite happy when one news channel slipped and called Focus on the Family a “right wing Christian group”. But now they’re pretending to be all neutral again.

  5. Christopher

    Hey, I questioned Christianity, change is possible.

    I also questioned whether Candyland is actually fun. Change is possible.

    I want these bigoted shits to give one single reason to avoid homosexuality besides “We’ll fuck you up if you’re gay”.

  6. hanna joergel

    Hi Twisty, delurking to make a comment about the location of one (two?) of the signs. (But now I realize you know St.L, don’t you?) 40 East Kingshighway. This would be the exit one takes to get to the Central West End, known around those parts to be the “eevul gay” part of the city, when approaching from the outer western suburbs. I’m surprised they didn’t put one up at Clayton/Skinker too, because that is on the other side of Forest Park from Kingshighway and (at least used to be) the part of the park where the suburban guys looking for a thrill would drive around and pick up young lads who would just happen to be hanging out in the park. I was best friends with one such unfortunate who made a habit of hanging out there in his youth after being tossed out of his parents’ home when he came out.

    44 would be the way in from the more southern suburbs (assuming it is also facing east). The other two locations are a bit out of my old stomping grounds, but it looks like they did their homework.

    Ron O.: Take the Poplar Street Bridge to 40/64 West. Drive past Barnes Hospital and the Science Center and get off at Hampton Ave. Turn left and then get back on 40/64 East. I know 6 mos is a little young for the zoo (which is excellent), but that would be a reason to go that way. You would pass it on the way home.

    OT fun St. Louis fact: About 10 years ago a baby boy African elephant was born at the zoo. His name is Raja (sp?). They built a whole new exhibit to house him because their facilities were inadequate for a gargantuan male. He has become quite the stud, inseminating numerous females from around the country. So someone wrote a letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch complaining that the zoo was sending the wrong message to children with him having all of these babies with different females. Wish I had a link. And I don’t miss St. Louis.

  7. Sharoni

    Those bigoted shits don’t have any reason, just their inbred, redneck, “I do it because that’s what mah daddy did,” pack instinct. It makes me sick. And yes, change is possible. Let’s start a seminar for the advancement of right-wing christians out of the stone age and into the real world where people make their own choices, not those dictated by the godbag patriarchy. Let’s see how THEY like being re-educated? I blame the patriarchy for this as all else.

  8. anthony

    i questioned homosexuality, and then realised i liked the cock

  9. Tony Patti

    There is no shame greater than the shame of one who sat on his ass all day fretting about finances rather than going out and shooting billboards for my dear friend Twisty.

  10. mythago

    In Missouri…check.

    Digital camera…check.

    Near St. Louis…doh!

  11. ae

    Focus on the Family — which asshole is that, Tony What’s-his-name or Randall Whoziwhatsit or that other one, the old guy, Whojibob Dobson? Who can keep up with all these gay male right-wingers obsessed with gay men?

    Here in NC, we have billboards signed by God. Yes, God. Well, no, not God, per se, but some right-wing asshole forging God’s name. They say things like, “Let’s meet at my house before the game” (ha!), and “Don’t take my name in vain.” Oh, how many fantasies of red paint I have had. This is all to say, could someone send the Billboard Liberation Front here, too?

    P.S. This “ex-gay” assault is some of the sickest shit I’ve seen. We’ve got to keep an eye on these creeps.

  12. Dean

    Saw one of these while driving down 44 the other night, and thought, “How stupid.”

    Also, note the P-D’s coverage of this. A search of STLtoday.com for the words “Exodus” and “billboards” reveals four hits within the last two days. Sorted by date, the headlines look like this:

    > Conference offers gays a chance to change
    News Article: 2/13/2006

    > Conference here will offer gays a chance to “recover”
    News Article: 2/13/2006

    > Upcoming conference on helping gays ‘recover’ draws criticism
    News Article: 2/13/2006

    > Conference offers gays a chance to change
    News Article: 2/12/2006

    This is, as far as I can tell without doing a line-by-line comparison, essentially the same article in all four locations.

    The first and fourth versions – the ones using the word “change” – appeared in the St. Louis city/county news section, while versions two and three, using the arguably more offensive term “recover,” albeit in quotes – come from, respectively, the Metroeast and St. Charles versions of the story.

    I admit, I don’t quite know what to make of this. Were the headline writers catering to what they perceive to be different attitudes about gays in those areas? Was the Post more/less worried about offending city- and county- based readers with the word “recover,” while deeming it OK for readers in St. Charles and Illinois? Or were they just rewriting for the sake of variety? Might be nothing, but I found it curious.

    Usually St. Louisans can take some measure of comfort in being a bit more liberal/progressive than the small-town and rural folks outstate, but this is like something you’d expect to see in the heart of the Bible belt, down near Springfield and Joplin. Are there no gays down there that need convertin’? Or do we just have so many more of them in the wicked big city that this is where the fundies feel their efforts will bear the most fruit, so to speak?

  13. Dean

    Almost forgot: FYI, via Google Image Search, a jpg of an Exodus billboard can be found here:

    http://exodus.to/images/BillboardChristine.jpg

    I’m not sure if this is the exact same design they are using in St. Louis, but it looks very similar to the one I saw.

  14. jc.

    I would gladly pose for a billboard that said “I Questioned Religion. Change is possible.”
    Betcha they wouldn`t let it be posted.

  15. Andygrrl

    Oh for christ’s sake. FUCK YOU ST. LOUIS. That’s it, I’m not going home. I’m staying here in France; at least there aren’t any shitty billboards.

  16. Twisty

    Andygrrl, in all fairness, it’s not STL’s fault. I am personally acquainted with lots of excellent St Louisans who don’t Focus on Family. Of course, i can’t in good conscience advocate living there.

  17. frippy

    I bike past the one posted on 40 and Kingshighway every day on my way home. I’ll take a photograph tomorrow.

  18. Jay Woolsrake

    I lived and worked in St. Louis during my 20s and have not since lived in a more heavily conservative Catholic town than St. Louis. Shamelessly heavily conservative Catholic. I am not surprised to hear of these billboards. Pro-life groups did the same for years. The city was also economically depressed and sharply racially divided. I would not be surprised if this was also still true.

  19. Carol

    This whole gay “recovery” line is really sad to me, because it just ends up hurting more people in the long run. My cousin recently came out to his small town, Southern Baptist parents. They blamed the Big City, where he went off to college, for corrupting his morals. They hear crap like this from the rightwing nutjobs, that “change is possible”, and so instead of accepting their son for who he is, they send him off for counseling.

  20. Trisha

    Please don’t think that all people in St. Louis are closed minded, conservative people. I live in the area, and I don’t and could not support the ideas expressed in these billboards in any way whatsoever.

    In many ways St. Louis is a very nice place to live and there are many open minded, decent people here too.

    “I Questioned Religion. Change is possible.” – I like that! With the right amount of money, I bet that could get on a billboard!

  21. Sharoni

    So how come they have a woman on their billboard? If she questions homosexuality, it doesn’t advance their cause any. After all, female homosexuals can still be raped, gotten pregnant, etc. Male homosexuals, on the other hand, WASTE THEIR SEED!!!! That’s the whole thing about homosexuality being a big no-no in the bible. It’s “unnatural” because it doesn’t make more little churchgoers and put money in the church’s coffers. And by “the church” I mean catholicism, which is the main foundation of christianity, and oh, by the way, one of the richest entities in the world? They could cure the starvation of lots of different places if they’d stop buying art pieces for the vatican. Anyway, back to my main theme; the church finds it inconvenient to have the population (i.e. contributions) slow down in any way. Hence the disapproval of birth control, abortion, choice, or homosexuality. I blame the patriarchy daily.

    Just thought I’d check in this morning and see what’s happening. Hope you’re feeling well today, Twisty, and able to blame the patriarchy with your usual verve and sparkle.

  22. AmyZawn

    Ha! These billboards should nicely complement the billboards I saw when I drove through Missouri last December–those of the “Jesus loves you, so don’t kill your baby, you goddamned slut,” sort. These were usually positioned right next to strip clubs, so you got bitch slapped with a double-dose of misogyny.

  23. Becker

    There are, as it turns out, pink triangle hat protests in the works:

    http://makeashorterlink.com/?N21831EAC

    Contact info is provided in the link, but not much else.

  24. Julia

    Hello. I live in St. Louis. Two of the four billboards have been vandalized since being put up. One was splattered with paint and the other was spray painted
    “right wing scum
    your time has come.”

    Protests are also planned for the “Focus on the Family” conference on Saturday.

    Thankfully, we’re not all right wing nut-jobs in this part of the world, although we have more than our share.

    Peace.

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