POSITIVO will serve to promote acceptance within the LGBT community towards Latinos who identify as LGBT or queer and/or who are living with HIV/AIDS.
The campaign, which is being funded by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health with funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will officially launch at the Sept. 8 Feria del Barrio, at the corner of Fifth and Lehigh streets.
POSITIVO will encourage free HIV tests during the festival, with GALAEI staffers on hand to answer any questions. All Latinos who are gay or who have sex with men who test during the festival will receive a gift.
This is the first time a specific campaign will target the Latino community by portraying real locals who are affirming of Latinos living with HIV.
“We recognized that there was an absence of any public or social-media campaign specifically targeting our community — folks who identify as LGBT or queer and Latino,” said GALAEI executive director Elicia Gonzales, who noted a recent GALAEI survey helped inform the campaign. “Initially, the campaign was designed to combat what we thought would be a lot of feelings around stigma in the Latino community, but what we found with the survey results was that Latinos were far more affirming of LGBT and HIV/AIDS-infected Latinos than we initially assumed.”
The campaign, which is described as a reflective visual platform, will include the release of a new positive image of community members every week on Facebook and through other outlets, starting Sept. 8 and until National Latino AIDS Awareness Day on Oct. 15.
“We wanted to make it authentic to Philadelphia, so all the people in the photos are people we know — members who are affirming of Latinos living with HIV or members of the Latino and LGBT communities,” Gonzales said.
The campaign will also feature an interactive component, with supporters encouraged to download the “I am POSITIVO” sign by “liking” the GALAEI Philly Facebook page. Individuals can take a photo and write why they are positive and it will be featured on GALAEI’s various social-media outlets.
Posters and postcards for the campaign will be in both Spanish and English and will be distributed all over North Philadelphia, which Gonzales said was the demographic GALAEI was hoping to reach.
“North Philadelphia is heavily impacted by HIV and has a big population of Latinos and because the campaign has an aggressive timeline, we wanted to focus our energies there,” she said.
Gonzales said that although the campaign will only last for five weeks, she hopes its effects last far longer.
“So far, people we have talked to internally have been incredibly ecstatic and said it was long overdue,” she said. “People feel like it will have a positive impact in helping the community.”
Gonzales said she hopes the campaign will promote both a positive image of and discussion on the Latino community.
“We are still living under the outdated notion that Latinos are more homophobic. Often times, we are only being talked about in alarming statistics, whether it be about health, education, etc. I am hoping POSITIVO shines positive light on the Latino community, in particular the LGBT Latino community, and shows the resilience, beauty and strength of our community and that we embrace those folks who have been discriminated against and shunned.”
The campaign’s premiere at Feria del Barrio will include a performance by Denice Frohman, the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion lyricist, whose work was featured in the city’s “UnLitter Us” campaign.
GALAEI youth coordinator and community activist Nikki Lopez will also DJ the event.