On November 4, 2008 Proposition 8 passed in California, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The defeat provoked a groundswell of initiative within the LGBT community at a grassroots level, with many new political and protest organizations being formed in response. The NOH8 Campaign was created in 2009 as a result of the amendment of Proposition 8.
While initially inspired by Proposition 8, the scope of the NOH8 Campaign has expanded its main goals to ﬁght discrimination and bullying universally as a mean to spread a worldview of acceptance as a cultural norm and as universally valid. Cultural imperialism took on the form of an attitude and a silent protest, implementing a cultural hegemony that states that a given society should stand against the additional inequalities that the LGBT community have faced with in response to the amendment of Proposition 8. The NOH8 Campaign encourages the viewpoint of an equal society by altering society and culture at large in terms of perceptions, values, and beliefs when it comes to the LGBT community. Everyone participating in the photograph and the protest identify him or herself with the hegemonic position and receive the dominant message delivered through this campaign. The NOH8 Campaign has received overwhelming support from around the world, and has appeared in various local and national news programs and publications. (Wikipedia)
In an interview with Co-founder we were able to draw nearer to the cause with personal questions related to NOH8.
What is the overall mission of the campaign?”
The NOH8 Campaign is a charitable organization whose mission is to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.
“How far will you go to keep it alive?”
Until there is no need for it. Hate comes in many different forms and unfortunately it’s alive and spreading all over the world.
“What can we do as advocates of NOH8 do to support the campaign?”
Keep talking. The most powerful tool is our voice! We need to tell stories and make connections to people.
“Aside from the obvious which is equal rights why is this of importance?”
Spreading the message of NOH8 is important, because there are teens taking their own lives, thinking there is no better way to overcome the hate the experience. Because there are people being arrested for expressing themselves honestly. Because there are children who don’t have a home because their state won’t allow a same-sex couple to adopt them.
“In the branded photographs with the duct tape- explain to me the message that it send”
The photo was created to portray a feeling. Adam and I were trying to portray how we felt after Prop 8 passed. We felt silenced. We felt suppressed. We felt violated. Our rights were up for a vote and the majority of the population of California got to “choose MY fate.” We tried to show what it feel like when human rights are taken away by a majority vote. The NOH8 is our way of protesting. We feel any form of discrimination is a form of hate.
“What are your immediate and long term plans for the campaign? Such as: cities you hope to visit to make your presents known?
Our goal is to show people that this is not a California issue. This isn’t even a US issue. This is a human issue and this is happening all over the world. It’s very important to us to bring together the LGBT community worldwide and show them that we are all here and in this together. Today it’s LGBT rights but tomorrow it could be your rights. If that day comes, we’ll fight for your rights too. It’s the right thing to do.
Well said, and thanks to Co-Founder Jeff Parshley for your time as well as diligent contribution to the interview. We can’t wait to see you in Houston, Texas. Special thanks as well to Chris Hayden for your support in getting the message over, as I understand everyone was in Copenhagen and Prague.
End of Interview
The campaign was created as photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek in protest. The phrase refers to “H8” (leet for ‘hate’), short for “Proposition H8” (pronounced “proposition hate”), a nickname used by critics of the proposition. The photos are featured on the campaign’s website, as well as various social networks, as well as a virtual world campaign in Second Life.
Nearly four years since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has expanded at an increasing rate, with more than 33,000 photos taken at 120 open photo shoots in 43 U.S. states. The campaign started with portraits of everyday Californians of various nationalities, and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and various others.
The images are widely used on various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the message of equality. Some photographers and student groups have even set up their own photo shoots. The campaign photos have circulated on the internet and are appearing on many supporter’s social networking profiles. Both LGBT and non LGBT people have participated in the photo shoots