Oklahoma native Cody Barlow found a special way to show support during Pride Month. Barlow, 28, decorated his Chevy Silverado with multi-colored duct tape and letters to share this message: "Not all country boys are bigots. Happy Pride Month."
On June 6, the Cherokee County resident posted a photo of his truck on Facebook along with a caption explaining what inspired him to make the statement.
"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," Barlow wrote.
Barlow described himself as a straight man who loves "taking my truck mudding, going fishing, swimming at the lake, floating the river, and several other 'country' activities."
Barlow wrote that he planned to keep the message on his truck for the entire month of June.
"It doesn't matter what negativity I receive for supporting this. I hope that this can help even the slightest bit to encourage and support at least one person that needs it," Barlow wrote. "I hope everyone finds their inner strength to finally live life loud and proud without regard for the negativity of ignorant people."
On YouTube, Barlow posted a response to the comments he's received.
"Know that there's people around here that care about you and love you and just know you have support," Barlow said. "Don't let some fowl attitudes ruin how you feel about yourself."
Barlow told the Tahlequah Daily Press it's important to show support for members of the LGBTQ communities in small towns where they may not always see themselves represented.
"Social media gets a broad area, but it needs to be a message in a place where it can be seen for this area, where the message was intended," said Barlow. "I've been hearing some pretty bad stories that have happened to people and still are happening in communities where it seems nobody is a member of the LGBTQ community or they are too afraid to come out."
Since posting photos of his truck earlier this month, Barlow has received thousands of messages and comments. Many have thanked him for being an ally and showing support for LGBTQ citizens in small, rural towns and beyond.
Over the weekend, Barlow drove his truck in the NWA Pride Parade in Fayetteville, Arkansas.