As a publicist, it is second nature to opt out of photos. I have a wonderful collection of pictures of famous clients or amazing events with only my black clad arm or leg in frame.
However, when I first saw the NOH8 Campaign photos, they really spoke to me. These two young men, Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley had started something powerful following the passage and subsequent affirmation by the California Supreme Court. The gay political establishment had focus-grouped a campaign without a message, except, its OK to not like the gays.
Their efforts obviously fell far short, but then, so did the gay community who was apathetic at best. Prop 22 was a distant memory and perhaps the hope of the Obama campaign had a blinding halo effect. There was no ground game. There was no outreach to constituent communities. There was, simply, no face to discriminate against.
The NOH8 Campaign puts faces to the discrimination. It puts stories behind the slogans. Gay, straight, bi, trans-gendered, black, white, brown (and every other shade) friends and families have joined celebrities like Ashlee Simpsons and Pete Wentz, Fran Drescher, Meghan McCain, director Bryan Singer, Steve-O and many others in this silent protest.
Every picture truly tells a story.
I posed for Dilson and Jason. Dilson, legally married in California to his amazing husband Walter, who among the 1100 + right and privileges denied to him by DOMA is not entitled to the same protections and privileges of any other immigrant. His 10-day old son, Jason, could lose his father any day, with no warning and no recourse.
I posed for Alfred, just out of college, who made me appreciate The Wizard of Oz, having found his strength, his heart and his voice in coming out in the last year. He not only did it himself, he is quick to speak up to anyone who would ever seek to treat him as anything less than a full citizen.
I posed for Rob, who came out in the past years, though later in his 30's, doesn't want anything to limit his options or potential. Rather than make up for lost time, Rob lives just as he always has, proving that being identified as gay does not change who he is.
I posed because Americans are the heirs to a philosophical fortune and I don't wish to squander it like the idiot off spring of the great robber barons. I posed because around the world people are dying just for the right to be in love.
I posed because my rights, our rights, are important. I never thought I would have the option of fighting for those rights. I posed for Lt Dan Choi and the 13,000 members of the Armed Forces dismissed under the shameful "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. I posed for the hundreds of young people who call the Trevor Project each year when they have nowhere else to turn.
Mostly, I posed for David. I have to prove to him that when I get misty-eyed describing the founding principles of this nation, the truths that we hold self-evident; when I have faith in the rule of law, at the staggering progress made and inspired here and abroad by these imperfect men who knew the pyramid remained un-finished; when I see Plessy v Ferguson become Brown v Board of Education or see the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments become the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, I know that those principles are earned and remain my work long after Election Day.
What these young men have created is the kind of grassroots action that can change a mind, that can change a vote, that can change the world.
To view the campaign, celebrity photos and to find our how you can participate, log on to www.noh8campaign.com.
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