You may know him from all the social media buzz he has received since he first painted his tailgate with the rainbow flag and message this past June 2019.
Cody Barlow, of Hulbert, Oklahoma, and his 1991 Chevrolet Silverado has become one of the most shared images online since he snapped and posted.
Twenty-Eight year old Cody, painted his tail lift with a rainbow and the following text, "Not All Country Boys Are Bigots. Happy Pride Month." A photo of the truck has been shared numerous times online and on sites all across the globe.
On August 2, 2019, Summer Diversity Weekend was upon us here in Eureka Springs, AR and Cody was invited to join our Out In Eureka crew as a guest to spread his kind message of goodwill to all no matter who they are, where they're from, what they believe, or who they love.
My partner Jeff and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet Cody and thank him for his time and his kindness. Cody proudly parked his truck in the heart of Downtown Eureka Springs and took photos with everyone that was interested. Shaking hands and spreading goodwill.
Since he visited with us in August, Cody changed the June message to the one you see below - Diversity Is Beautiful - for our Summer Diversity Weekend here in Eureka Springs.
"I have family, friends, past coworkers, and people I served within the U.S. Navy that belong to the LGBTQ+ community. Speaking with them and getting to know them helped me gain a better understanding of what people in that community deal with in their lives," Barlow says. "I came up with an idea to show my support for Pride Month and hopefully send out a positive message of acceptance, encouragement, and love to people from all walks of life."
"The reason for the wording is due to a perceived stereotype of people from the south and Midwest as being bigots,"
"My intention with the word bigot is to identify people that call other people slurs, cause violence, or generally make the lives of others miserable because of who they are or who they love. That is what I mean by the intolerance defined by the word bigot. Disagreeing with a person does not make someone a bigot, but belittling or harassing them for it does. There are plenty of decent people in the Midwest and south that may disagree with members of the LGBTQ+ community, yet they are tolerant and keep it to themselves."
Oklahoma, like Arkansas and other southern states, has a long way to go when it comes to passing statewide laws and policies that help LGBTQ+ people. Reddit says that Oklahoma ranked as one of the worst states to start an LGBTQ+ family, according to move.org
and went on to research that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) labeled Oklahoma as "High priority to achieve basic equality" in its 5th annual State Equality Index.
Before Cody departed Eureka Springs, he was kind enough to entertain my request to meet with him one-on-one for a brief opportunity to hear from him directly. Please enjoy my interview here with Cody Barlow on YouTube.
Thank you Cody, for all that you are and all that you are doing to spread goodwill to all far and wide.
You are a true ally and we appreciate you.
Eureka Springs, AR
JOIN US FOR OUR FALL DIVERSITY WEEKEND IN EUREKA SPRINGS, AR