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Highway billboard aims to promote body positivity 

Commuters driving down the Cuesta Grade toward San Luis Obispo will see a new billboard featuring various individuals from the LGBTQ community with the hashtag #100%ThatProud.

"It's really just meant to be an encouragement I would say for LGBTQ folks, but everyone you know. It's about being proud of the skin we're in," said Michelle Call, the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast (GALA).

Call said the image has individuals that identify as intersex, transgender, and nonbinary.

click to enlarge JUST LIKE YOU Commuters traveling down Highway 101 from North County to the city of San Luis Obispo will see GALA and SLO Tease's body positivity billboard. - IMAGE COURTESY OF LYNN SCHMIDT
  • Image Courtesy Of Lynn Schmidt
  • JUST LIKE YOU Commuters traveling down Highway 101 from North County to the city of San Luis Obispo will see GALA and SLO Tease's body positivity billboard.

The billboard is a collaborative effort between GALA and SLO Tease, a neo-burlesque troupe, as a part of their body-positivity campaign.

Rick Castello, executive producer and curator of SLO Tease, said the campaign was funded through their show proceeds and partnerships with Sidecar, volunteers, and the troupe's security team.

Castello said the campaign is meant to instill the same message that he evokes through SLO Tease: All body shapes and sizes are welcomed to perform and wow the crowd.

"I think that it's a really important counterpoint to the dominant narrative. Among the LGBTQ community we know self-esteem is a huge issue," Call said. "They're not seeing beauty; they're not seeing whatever it is they think other people have."

She said the billboard and the campaign create an awareness of body positivity as well as inclusiveness throughout SLO County.

GALA's art curator and creator of the billboard, Lynn Schmidt, said the billboard was inspired by fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon, and his black-and-white portraits of everyday individuals.

"My desire was to create that same kind of feeling, that everyday person," Schmidt said. "These people are everybody, and you can see yourself on this billboard."

The sign will be up for a month. Δ

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