Against the backdrop of a challenge to Virginia's ban on gay marriage reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, Richmond has “come out” as a destination for LGBT tourists.

The bold appeal is from the organization Richmond Region Tourism, whose campaign declaring that Richmond is leaving the closet behind is being broadcast through print ads, online banner ads and on social media.

“Of course, outsiders think they know Richmond,” an announcer says in a video for the campaign, titled OutRVA. “The capital of the Confederacy, the stuck in the past, the unwelcoming, the intolerant Richmond. We've heard the comments, and they hurt.”

“It's time for the world to see the LGBT community we're proud to call our own, and the people that have risen up to support it. We're saying goodbye to the closet, and you're going to have to say goodbye to your old opinion of Richmond.”

In a print version of the campaign, Richmond comes out gay to various cities. “Hey Boston,” one ad starts, “I'm gay. And I can't change. Just like you can't change the way you say 'park.' … Love, Richmond, Virginia.”

The bold bid for the gay dollar comes as Virginia takes center stage in the marriage equality debate.

Last week, the Supreme Court announced that petitions stemming from cases challenging bans in five states will be considered at a September 29 closed-door conference.

In July, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond struck down Virginia's ban. Appeals courts have also invalidated bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin.

According to The New York Times, the campaign was developed by a group of students attending the V.C.U. Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Professor Kelly O'Keefe oversaw the project.

Coming out is “a pivotal point in people's lives,” said Katherine O'Donnell, vice president for community relations at Richmond Region Tourism. “We're using that as a symbolic way for Richmond to come out” as a destination for LGBT tourists.

This, the campaign states, is the “real” Virginia.