Gay advertising defaced by vandalism on CTA

Wed. April 1, 2009 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

gay ads are being defaced on cta buses and trains

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Chicago, IL - In a blatant sign of intolerance people have been defacing gay advertising on the Chicago Transit Authority by covering them with tape or cutting out the words "gay, healthy and sexy" with scissors.

The advertisements for, an online forum for gay men's health, have been defaced or completely destroyed on a number of CTA buses and trains since they first appeared last month.

"When I saw one ad defaced, I didn't want to think it was a big deal," Jim Pickett, director of advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, told the Chi Town Daily News. "But I was concerned when I saw three. They didn't deface the whole ad. They were specific, as if 'gay' is a bad word.

The advertising campaign, which includes ads on the backs of buses and inside Red Line trains, was purchased with funding from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Clearly, the target audience is gay people," Simone Koehlinger, director of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health at the Chicago Health Department told the Daily News. "But when you're supporting one group's health, you're supporting everyone's health."

The project is a four-agency collaboration between the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Center on Halsted, Test Positive Aware Network, and Howard Brown Health Center.

The CTA tells that once aware the ads were being defaced they began replacing them immediately. "CTA and Titan have instructed employees to be alert and report any activity that may be related to this vandalism," said Catherine Hosinski, CTA Media Representative.


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