The NOH8 Campaign was created in 2008 after Proposition 8 passed in California. Prop 8 amended the state Constitution to ban same sex marriage in California. This defeat outraged the GLBT community and their supporters and in response, new political and protest organizations were founded.
The NOH8 Campaign uses photographs as a silent protest. Celebrity photographer Adam Bouska (http://www.bouska.net) and partner Jeff Parshley photograph their subjects with duct tape over their mouth. It is a symbol of voices silenced by Prop 8 and other world wide legislation. “NOH8” is painted on one cheek in protest.
As the spouse of an active duty Air Force member, I was particularly horrified when I heard Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach’s story. Before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, Lt. Colonel Fehrenbach faced discharge following an investigation of an unsubstantiated allegation by a civilian. Read more of his story HERE and Lt. Colonel Fehrenbach’s Huffington Post essay HERE.
In the wake of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, I am especially gratified when I see pictures of active military members in same sex relationships embracing publicly and I am thrilled to read articles of same sex marriages being performed on military installations around the country.
Growing up in the South, I witnessed first hand the devastating effects of prejudice and hatred. When I became a parent, I made a conscious decision to teach my sons to respect EVERYONE regardless of skin color or sexuality. That a person is not defined by their ethnicity or their sexuality. I made sure my boys knew my love was unconditional and that I would always love and support them regardless of who they loved. And I know that I accomplished my goal when I see them speaking out against politicians, celebrities, businesses and organizations that do not support the GLBT community.
As a reader of GLBT literature, I walked in another person’s shoes. I gained first hand knowledge of what it means to be a gay or lesbian person in today’s world. Through fictional characters I saw what it meant to hide such a crucial part of someone’s identity. I truly understand what the ramifications of what legal rights can possibly mean during a health crisis. Of course I knew all of this on a vague, intellectual level. But reading GLBT fiction made it personal for me. I have been happily married for 25+ years, and in this day and age, it is outrageous that in so many states, gay and lesbian couples are denied the opportunity to celebrate and legalize their love for their partners.
The biggest lesson that everyone needs to learn is: love is love. It does not matter if you love someone of the same or opposite sex. What you do (and who you are doing it with) is NO ONE’S business. But making sure that everybody has equal rights is EVERYONE’S responsibility. Help spread the word and end the hate.
Thank you, NOH8 Campaign, for raising awareness. And while I wish you a very Happy 4th Anniversary, I am looking forward to the day when you no longer celebrate anniversaries. Because that would mean we have finally achieved equality for all.
Please visit the NOH8 Campaign’s WEBSITE for more information.