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Anti-LGBTQ+ Billboard Upsets Queer-Friendly Virginia Neighborhood

Carytown Sign

Richmond's Carytown neighborhood is known to be popular with and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community, adding to the outrage at the bigoted billboard.


The LGBTQ+ community and its allies in Virginia's capital city are upset about an anti-LGBTQ+ billboard.

The billboard looks like a Pride flag with text in front of it.

"LGBTQ. What did Jesus say? What does the Bible really say?" it reads.

The sign includes the URL of a website containing anti-LGBTQ+ and bigoted material. The site purports to spread the word of God.

"Some of the following may be offensive to both gay and straight -- please read to the end before making a judgment," the top of the LGBTQ-related page begins, and it promptly devolves into sin and shame from there.

The sign atop Mary Angela's Pizzeria is alarming to many locals because it went up shortly after the deadly Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs.

The Italian restaurant's co-owner is outraged by the sign on top of the building, but because he rents and doesn't own the space, his hands are tied, Richmond's NBC affiliate WWBT reports.

"You know we don't own the billboard, and we don't own the building, so we rent it, so that's frustrating sometimes to see things that happen on top of your head that you can't do anything about it," Mario Lopresti told the station.

According to the billboard, Seed Sowers, an organization of Christians who want to distribute God's word, paid for it, but it's unclear who placed the message on the billboard.

Those living in Richmond's Carytown and Scott's Addition neighborhoods tend to be open-minded and eclectic. The trendy part of town abuts the eastern edge of Virginia Commonwealth University's campus and attracts people from many walks of life.

The area is particularly popular with the LGBTQ+ community, and these residents are concerned for their well-being.

"They placed it over Carytown, which is notoriously composed of people from my community, like that's one of our main neighborhoods in Richmond, so I very honestly believe that this billboard was an intimidation tactic against our community but also a misleading one against the entire community," LGBTQ+ community member Oliver Lesher said to WWBT.

The Advocate reported in June that Virginia had become the most LGBTQ-affirming state in the South.

Late Monday evening, The Advocate learned that the billboard had been taken down.

James Millner, director of Virginia Pride, tells The Advocate that the billboard came down Friday.

"And they will not go back up," he says.

This story was updated to reflect new information regarding the removal of the billboard from the roof of the Carytown pizzaria.

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