(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
Residents in the South End, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain might have noticed a few posters appearing around their neighborhood that feature pictures of people of color and quotes about “coming out”.
The posters, affixed to walls and utility boxes by two Grove Hall artists, are meant to raise awareness about the challenges of being gay for people of color. They sprouted up shortly after President Obama gave his back to same-sex marriage and the NAACP restated its contention that gay rights — including the right to marry — are civil rights..
“Often for both of us and for other LGBT folks there is this duo invisibility,” said one of the artists, who asked to remain anonymous because the posters are considered graffiti. “I think for LGBT folks of color we walk this line where in one community we can’t talk openly about our homosexuality and one community can’t talk openly about race.”
The artist, a lesbian and person of color, said that the gay community oftentimes doesn’t want to discuss race and the communities of color don’t want to acknowledge homosexuality.
“It’s like a don’t ask, don’t tell in the community. Oftentimes the black clergy will speak out against it and I think people have become conditioned to not stand up, so we just kind of keep it silent,” she said.
Now with the posters, the duo hopes to bring the discussion to the street.
The posters, which can be found in Dudley Square, on Centre Street, and Blue Hill Avenue, feature vintage photos and quotes or “postcards” with messages of support, solidarity, and understanding.
“Dear Mother, there is something I need to tell you. I am gay. Inshallah you will accept me for who I am,” says one poster of a young man in a bow tie located a few hundred feet from Muhammad's Mosque no. 11 in Grove Hall.
Another with a photo of two women looking at each other adoringly reads, “Dear Mother and Dad I have met the most beautiful woman in the world. Her name is Maggie.”
Some of the posters have been torn down and vandalized, but others have been met with enthusiasm and in the end the artists hope to show other homosexuals of color that they aren't alone.
“We put one up in Dudley and when we were putting it up one of the store owners came out and asked if we could cover up some graffiti,” she said. “Some might say you are defacing the building but for that two hours or two days they are up it’s a good feeling. When I walk by it I’m happy and I hope others feel that way.”