LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — A new billboard located off I-385 is intended to promote a message of inclusion and acceptance, according to the organization Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA).
The billboard reads, “REJOICE! GOD LOVES TRANS KIDS.” It is part of a month-long campaign by AFFA.
There are six billboards in the state. Some others in the Lowcountry read, “GOD LOVES LGBTQ+ PEOPLE.”
“We’re hoping to use this as a way to communicate with South Carolinians, both those who may need to be challenged just a little bit and also those who have felt sort of neglected and even pushed away by their faith communities,” Chase Glenn, the Executive Director of AFFA, explained.
Glenn said AFFA was inspired to begin the campaign after anti-LGBTQ+ bills were proposed in South Carolina’s state legislature.
“Often, the people who are introducing and supporting these bills use religion as a shield and a scapegoat,” Glenn said. “That’s not okay. They don’t own the narrative on religious messaging as it relates to LGBTQ+ people.”
However, the billboard’s message is not accepted by everyone.
“I think it sets a bad precedent for who we are as Laurens County residents,” Luke Rankin, the Chairman of the Laurens County Republican Party, said. “We’re a Christian community. We believe in God. We believe in biblical family values.”
The Laurens County Republican Party provided the following statement in response to the billboard:
“The agenda of Alliance For Full Acceptance is in their name. They want us to accept their lifestyle, normalize their perversion, and they are trying to use God as a means to accomplish this. God does love trans people, but God hates their sin. I, too, can love them, but at the same time I will call out transgenderism and the LGBTQ agenda for what it is – because it’s wrong and evil. We cannot normalize the mutilation of kids and just accept it. There is a war going on for the souls of our children and it’s our job as parents, pastors, and community leaders to push back, stand united, and declare that we won’t allow this dangerous ideology to take a foothold in our community.”Luke Rankin, LCGOP Chairman
Glenn said AFFA is considering putting more billboards up in the Upstate, including in Spartanburg County.
To learn more about AFFA and its campaign, click here.
The Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce provided the following statement in response to the billboard:
“The “God Loves Trans Kids” billboard is not only a truth we believe but it serves as a symbol of economic inclusion and access for everyone in South Carolina. By advocating for acceptance and understanding, we encourage a diverse workforce that fosters innovation and growth. Embracing this inclusivity paves the way for a stronger, more resilient economy that benefits not just trans kids but all South Carolinians.”Tyler Prescott, CEO of the Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce