HELENA — A new billboard has gone up in Helena supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Helena. The intention of the sign is to remind those that are feeling isolated or alone, that they are loved.
“What could I say to those kids and this is what came out, that you are loved. I want them to know that they're loved even though they're going through these awful attacks that there are people who love them who are fighting for them this is really just my plea to like hang in there, hang in there as a young child, or a young person,” said Rae Senarighi, the artist behind the billboard design.
Senarighi created the message of support and love for youth and young adults within the LGBTQ plus community to feel seen.
The billboard is able to stay up on the corner of Montana Avenue and Orange Avenue due to people like Quinn Leighton who went from business to business for support.
"Within an hour we had three months paid for and as soon as the Billboard went up and we shared it, I shared it on my personal Social media and then the Montana Book Company shared it out and donations just started to come flooding in and I think that folks were just really, really heartened to see such a positive message,” said Leighton
For Leighton, the billboard is a public "I love you" to people who have been impacted by bills passed by the 2021 legislature that restricted LGBTQ+ youth.
“I love it just seeing it so big and like looming over one of our busiest streets in Helena, it made me happy to know that so many people would see it when they drove by,” said Leighton.
Montana Book Company co-owner Chelsia Rice says helping to make the LGBT community visible in a community is important.
“For me, as a person who is cisgender and in the LGBT community going into institutions and communities where there is visible support of LGBTQ people and people of color is reassuring and creates a sense of safety when doing common everyday activities,” said Rice.
Senarighi wants LGBTQ plus youth to know a vital message.
"You are loved, that you are included, that we are literally fighting in this together that community is really important, and if you can just hang on through these hard times that we have and not lose hope,” said Senarighi.
Senarighi wants to put up billboards across the state and if you interested you can visit his website here.