A controversial billboard proclaiming that "nobody is born gay" has sparked a great deal of controversy in Richmond, Virginia, where it was recently put on display.
Paid for by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays — an organization aimed at helping so-called "ex-gays" gain acceptance — the ad features a picture of male twins and reads, "Identical twins. One gay. One not. We believe twins research studies show nobody is born gay."
While the billboard is offending local gay and lesbian advocates, Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, believes that critics aren't looking at the facts, specifically when it comes to analyzing how same-sex attraction pertains to twins.
"Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay," she said, according to WVUE-TV. "Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. No one is born gay."
Griggs went on in her statement to say that "change is possible" and that people deserve to know the truth about same-sex attraction, claiming that her organization seeks to help people "seeking positive life change."
But the leader of Rosby, a group that offers resources to gay youths, said that the billboard is simply unacceptable in the modern era.
"I am shocked and really disappointed that at the end of 2014, we have a billboard in the middle of our city that says that kind of hate," Beth Panilaitis, the organization's executive director, told WVUE-TV.
Richmond Gay Community Foundation executive director Bill Harrison agreed.
"We do not know why people are heterosexual. Maybe when we figure that out, we can determine why some people are not," he said in an interview with WWBT-TV. "What we do know is that this type of therapy has caused many people to commit suicide."