For the third time this year, Atlanta is home to a billboard raising awareness of transgender issues. The FOLX Health campaign focuses on trans youth, and it placed similar billboards in Austin and Little Rock.
“Trans people, especially trans kids, need to see that their lives are valuable,” said Rocco Kayiatos, vice president of Marketing for FOLX Health. “Other people need to hear the message over and over again that trans youth are youth that are deserving of our protection.”
The billboard, which stands at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and Krog Street, reads “Trans Youth Matter.” It went up for Pride Month and remains until another advertiser buys the space.
FOLX selected billboard sites in states debating transgender equality. Georgia entertained four anti-trans bills during the 2021 legislative session. All of them stalled in committees but can be reintroduced next year.
Reaction has been largely positive to the campaign so far, he added.
“Our favorite reaction is when people pull over to take a picture of it,” Kayiatos said. “We know that means they’re sending it to someone who needs to see it.”
Visibility saves lives
Social shares like that and other feedback are nice, but their meaning is deeper than surface support, Kayiatos said.
“Our lowest aim is to brighten someone’s day, and our highest aim with this sort of thing is to change or even save someone’s life,” he said. “Might seem lofty, but visibility matters to marginalized communities.”
“Something like this can provide hope – like cheerleading – or inspiration to push through another day, or it can provide a moment of clarity for someone who might not have been thinking about how trans youth, or all trans people for that matter, deserve our love, care and protection,” Kayiatos said.
FOLX Health is focused on LGBTQIA+ health. The digitally native health platform dedicates itself to providing an accessible resource for healthcare.
“The traditional healthcare system consists of disjointed providers who don’t understand the LGBTQIA+’s community health needs and contains endless government hurdles, leaving millions of people to defend their bodies, sexual choices, families and goals for themselves,” Kayiatos said.
FOLX offers bundles prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy, erectile dysfunction and more with clinical services to trans and queer folks in 31 states. The organization also started providing PrEP at about 3.6 percent of the original cost on June 22, according to FOLX officials. They expect to expand into additional services for sexual health, mental health and other aspects of queer wellbeing.
As for the billboards, the goal is as simple as it is important.
“We hope that the message gets heard and felt and integrated into how people think about trans people,” Kayiatos said. “And we hope trans people feel seen and loved and that their lives matter.”