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The story behind Joshua Tree Desert pro-trans billboard: ‘It’s an act of love’

The story behind Joshua Tree Desert pro-trans billboard: ‘It’s an act of love’

A billboard protecting trans rights has gone up in the Joshua Tree Desert in response to a previous transphobic poster.

The current poster reads ‘Transgender people deserve health care, support, justice, safety, love’. It also features a rainbow frame around the slogan.

The amazing response to an anti-trans billboard

The poster put up by Tim Donnelly.

During the campaign for midterm elections in California’s 8th Congressional District, Tim Donnelly attacked incumbent Paul Cook for his vote on transgender military service. Donnelly used a photo of a transgender veteran without her permission.

Donnelly’s slogan shouted: ‘Ask Paul Cook Why He Voted To Allow Our Military Funds To Be Used For Sex-Change Surgeries!’ It includes a photo of Allison Hannan from an OUT Magazine feature about transgender veterans. Reportedly, Donnely didn’t get any permission to use the picture.

Therefore, neighbors talked to neighbors and decided to do something about it. Through word of mouth organizing, a group of neighbors raised the funds to make a new inclusive billboard possible.

‘An act of love’

The Morongo Basin neighbors behind the billboard told Gay Star News: ‘The prior billboard was taken down just before the election, because that was how long they paid to have it up.’

The group decided to buy their own space when the transphobic poster was still up. They furthermore explained theirs only went up last Tuesday [13 November].

‘The way we see it, Donnelly’s billboard was an act of hate, targeting our transgender neighbors. Our billboard is an act of love for those same neighbors.’

‘Our focus is making sure that our trans neighbors know that they are supported, appreciated, and celebrated in our community,’ they also said.

The group doesn’t want to engage with Donnelly.

‘Given that Donnelly doesn’t live in our community, and lost his race to represent our community in Congress, we see no reason to spend our time engaging with him. Our billboard is a conversation among neighbors and our focus in on making it very clear that our local trans community knows they are valued and welcomed here,’ they said.

Donnelly replies to criticism

GSN has reached out to Donnelly for comment.

‘My goal was to expose a controversial vote made by my opponent, Mr. Cook, to use military funds to pay for sex-change surgeries, something the majority of voters in the district oppose. For a Republican to vote to use taxpayer dollars reserved for the military to pay for elective surgeries instead of using those funds to provide boots or body armor or better treatment of our veterans is unfathomable.’

He also explained he used the picture, but didn’t alter it in any way.

‘As far as the billboard that replaced mine, I say “Bravo!” I applaud the use of the free market to communicate whatever message floats your boat,’ he said.

‘Far superior than trying to get a law passed to penalize speech or using government as a weapon against those with whom you disagree.’

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