Openly-gay model in 'Nobody is born gay' billboard reacts

Published: Dec. 11, 2014 at 9:44 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2014 at 11:32 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A controversial billboard here in Richmond is now getting attention all the way in South Africa.

That's where the model featured in the ad is from, and he reached out to us to clear the record.

Speaking via Skype, Kyle Roux said he was shocked his image was used. Especially since he calls himself an "out and proud" gay man.

"I was obviously quite shocked, so that why I decided to send you guys an email saying hey, I'm that guy in that billboard," Roux said.

Roux hasn't thought about that photo shoot in nearly a decade. He says the pictures used on the billboard were part of a stock photo shoot he did. Roux signed away the rights and was told the pictures would be used in commercial and corporate ads and brochures.

Thursday morning, friends, family and even Roux's trainer asked if he was featured in the ad, which claimed to show identical twins and the statement, "Nobody is born gay."

It's ironic, says Roux, given that he's not a twin and openly gay.

"It just seems like there no place in today's world for an organization that is promoting this as being some kind of deviant or distasteful lifestyle, because I've lived my life openly gay and happy for my entire life," he said.

The ad is from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, PFOX.  

"The issue isn't the photo on a the billboard, but the actual science," said Chris Doyle, a licensed clinical professional counselor and former board member of PFOX. 

The group says being gay isn't a genetic predisposition, but instead a choice, and anyone can choose change their lives:  

"PFOX supports the rights of everyone who wants to pursue that for themselves," Doyle said.

Roux disagrees and says he hopes this is something that doesn't set back the gay community -- whether it's here, in South Africa or anywhere in the world.

"It's actually quite a big thing that there is this kind of discrimination and borderline hate speech going on, you know," he said.

Roux says he's worried about teens struggling with their sexuality, and he hopes to empower others. 

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