The South African man featured on an antigay billboard in Richmond, Virginia spoke up Thursday saying that he himself is gay and that he does not agree with the billboard’s message.
According to Richmond’s NBC Channel 12, model Kyle Roux spoke up after friends, family and associates brought the billboard to his attention.
The roadside ad was put up by conservative Christian antigay group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) and features two pictures of Roux. “Identical twins: One gay, one not. We believe twins research studies show NOBODY IS BORN GAY.”
Roux said that not only is he not a twin, he is an “out and proud gay man.”
“I was obviously quite shocked, so that why I decided to send you guys an email saying hey, I’m that guy in that billboard,” he wrote to Channel 12.
Roux sat for the photo-shoot a decade ago and hadn’t thought much of it since. The images were for a stock image service. He said he was told they’d be used for corporate advertising and publicity materials.
“It just seems like there no place in today’s world for an organization that is promoting this as being some kind of deviant or distasteful lifestyle, because I’ve lived my life openly gay and happy for my entire life,” Roux said.
PFOX argued that science is on God’s side.
“The issue isn’t the photo on the billboard, but the actual science,” said Chris Doyle, a counselor and PFOX board member.
People choose to be gay, said Doyle, and his organization is there to help them undo that mistake and encourage them to pursue a more godly lifestyle.
“PFOX supports the rights of everyone who wants to pursue that for themselves,” said Doyle.
Science is still unclear as to the factors determining human sexual orientation. In fact, identical twins are significantly more likely to share an orientation that ordinary brothers and sisters.
A 2003 study by the World Policy Institute titled “Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas” noted that 52 percent of identical twins of homosexual men and 48 percent of identical twins of lesbians were found to also be homosexual. The statistics came from an exhaustive 1993 study published in the Journal of American Psychiatry.
Scientists say that this much higher incidence of shared orientations among twins in fact argues strongly for an inherited or genetic factor in making up a person’s orientation.
Furthermore, the type of “reparative” therapy practiced by PFOX and other “ex-gay” organizations has been thoroughly discredited as ineffective and actively harmful to LGBT people.
The North American nerve center of the “ex-gay” movement, Exodus International, closed its doors in 2013 and issued an official apology to the thousands of LGBT people its ministry had damaged over the years.
John Smid, former head of “ex-gay” group Love in Action, married his partner Larry McQueen in Oklahoma last month.
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