Chicago’s ‘Healthy Gays’ HIV Ads Defaced

“The ads were meant to tell Chicago that health issues for gay men are about more than HIV and AIDS. Gay men practice yoga, swim and meditate, too. But someone removed or taped over three key words in the ads on the back of CTA buses: Gay, sexy and healthy.
‘Clearly the words gay, sexy and healthy were provocative to some people,” said Jim Pickett, director of advocacy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. The posters show men doing yoga, meditating and swimming. They include the question: How are you healthy? And they also include the words gay, sexy and healthy. […] ‘We are not going to tolerate someone defacing ads and leaving them up,’ CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said. The vendor ‘and CTA have been told to be on the alert.’ Noting how quickly the ads were replaced, Pickett said the gay community has suffered worse indignities. Still, the vandalism was a reminder of the everyday hostility the gay community faces, he said.” [Chi Sun-Times]

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  • Chitown Kev

    I wonder which buses or bus routes these ad were defaced on, though.

  • Harrison

    pics or it didn’t happen

  • osocubano

    Did anyone really expect that they would be left alone?

  • james ii

    where was peter labarbera???

    this didn’t seem to be some spur of the moment vandalism, since the words were cut out. seems the posters were targeted. you know, a lot of our buses have security cameras. wonder if they caught whomever it was, in the act.

  • Jim Pickett

    Hi there —-

    We have a pic taken yesterday on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

    I am one of the ad’s creators, and saw three defaced ads myself last Friday, but as the buses were in traffic and moving, I was unable to get pics. Luckily, we had someone take a pic from their car yesterday.

    Here is a link to a post on LifeLube with the pic:

  • Tyler

    Have you ever been on the CTA? I think it’s a clearer reminder of the stupidity of thirteen-year old boys who Twombly-up any ad they can get their greasy little Sharpies onto.

  • Attmay

    Let’s get even. If you see one of those “Marriage=Man+Woman” bumper stickers, apply a few layers of duct tape, glue, and paint to conceal it and make it difficult to remove that.

  • Jim Pickett

    The interesting thing about these defacements is how neatly they have been done. Red tape over just words “gay, sexy, healthy” on an ad with a red background. I saw a few where those words were expertly cut out, as with an exacto knife. Seems a little weird that average people are on the street with red tape and exacto knives in their bag, and that they are doing this type of vandalism in the open.

  • Chitown Kev


    Now, they deface movie ads on the -els and the platforms all the time. Coloring in bright white shining teeth with ink and stuff like that. So for these ads to be defaced is nothing unusual at all. Still, they could very well be targeting these ads. Just not that much info to go on.

  • Jim Pickett

    I think the fact that the MO is the same – just removing the words “gay sexy healthy” and doing so in a very careful way – with matching colored tape, with an exacto knife —- not exactly like a typical sharpie warrior…

  • Alec

    I think it is hard to decide which is more important: This story or the Corrgan/Lucas spat.

Comments are closed.