A billboard for a local coffee shop erected for Pride last month has become a topic of controversy for the residents of Somersworth, New Hampshire.
Featuring a young man dressed in pink with his legs spread, the ad for Teatotaller café has received some backlash from residents who find it “disgusting.”
The rural town’s news site, Somersworth Now, posted a photo of the billboard on its Facebook page, sparking a debate about whether or not the ad was appropriate for the town of 11,000 people.
“Very poor choice of advertising. Gross to be honest with you,” wrote one angry resident. “This type of advertising belongs maybe on a porn site or magazine.”
“I have zero issue with anyone’s personal sexual preference. However, I do have issue with men trying to act like women,” another man shared. “Having to explain to my child why the man looks like a lady is something I did not want to do, but had to because of this.”
Despite an avalanche of criticism, the comments are also filled with messages in defense of the ad, including one from the billboard’s model himself.
“As I am the person featured in this ad, all I have to say is times are changing and your views need to be changing with them,” wrote 18-year-old Michael Cummings. “This ad is quirky, fun and expressive, and hopefully will be an inspiration to the youth of Somersworth to continually be true to themselves and live the life they want.”
“Some of you may not get this and that’s okay, but I urge you to see it from a different point of view and open your mind to new things,” he added. “Hope all the residents in Somersworth that may disagree with this ad will continue to show me respect and love, as I always try to do to you all.”