A self-proclaimed ‘country boy’ from Oklahoma has decorated his pickup truck in rainbow colours to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
Cody Barlow used duct tape and mailbox letters to decorate his Chevrolet Silverado with a rainbow pride flag, along with a message of support to his LGBTQ+ allies.
Cody’s message of support is an important one in Oklahoma especially, where discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity is still allowed.
The 28-year-old identifies as straight, although he admits he ‘doesn’t think it is necessary to say’ in a Facebook post of his truck which has since gone viral.
Cody explained why his message of solidarity is an important one, stating that countless people have dealt with hatred and judgement for far too long.
In the Facebook post, Cody wanted to show people they’re not alone:
This is important to me, not only because I have family and friends that are LGBTQ+, but also because countless people have dealt with hatred and judgement simply for who they are, and/or who they love, for far too long.
Obviously doing this isn’t going to change the minds of those who are intolerant, but hopefully it can help drown out the hatred with love.
The 28-year-old went on to acknowledge his message probably ‘isn’t a very welcome’ one in his rural area, which is surrounded by small towns in every direction, but that he will continue to display the colours on his truck for the entirety of June.
Cody shared a picture of his truck on Friday (June 7), after which more than 134K people have liked it and 77K have shared his message.
Speaking to CNN about how he didn’t expect his message to have such a global impact, Cody said:
I was trying to reach anyone it would help. People are sending me these stories, telling me what they’ve dealt with over the years, telling me they were tearing up and crying while reading this post.
I didn’t realise what kind of impact this was going to have.
Cody’s expectations were based on his experience growing up in a rural, predominantly Christian part of Oklahoma, he explained.
The 28-year-old said:
When I was younger, it seemed like everyone was the same. This is an area where everyone goes to church and nobody strays from the path. Over time, I started opening my mind more and seeing everything that was going on around me.
Despite the initial negative response to his post, Cody says the positive reactions now far outweigh the negative ones. ‘Even if it helps one person, it’s worth it,’ he explains.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, Or email [email protected]
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).