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Local San Diegans Join National Fight Against H8

On November 4, 2008 voters in California passed Proposition 8, shooting down a previous law that allowed same-sex marriage by amending the California State Constitution to identify marriage as only between one man and one woman.  Celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and his partner, Jeff Parshley, wanted to do something in response.  On Feb 1, 2009, they created the NOH8 Campaign – a non-profit photo project and silent protest that in just 9 months has blown wide open and become a truly remarkable crusade against hate, nationwide.

The photos feature single subjects or groups, each dressed in white tees or tanks with duct tape over their mouths - symbolizing not being heard - and NOH8 painted on one cheek, in protest.  Initially Bouska and Parskley began assembling everyday people who support marriage equality but the campaign has now grown to include and represent military personnel, law enforcement, family members, and even celebrities, who continue to get involved every day, in droves.

There are also several NOH8 Public Service Announcements (PSAs) floating around the web, involving celebrities and others who support the cause. Eventually Bouska and Parskley hope to move the campaign to billboard spaces around the country and into full magazine spreads.  Right now it is completely a grassroots effort via the web.

Deepak Chopra was the most recent celebrity to pose for Adam’s camera, but hundreds of others, including this diverse list of supporters: Kathy Griffin, Perez Hilton, Meaghan McCain, Hal Sparks, and Gloria Allred, have each taken their photo for the cause.

Recently, two local San Diegans got involved. Angela Hergenroeder and Jana Newman live together in Carlsbad.  Being photo entrepreneurs themselves, they were contacted back in September by the NOH8 Campaign and asked to be part of an upcoming photo shoot at Adam’s studio in West Hollywood.  They jumped at the chance, and just this week were able to post their own NOH8 photos on their Facebook pages, to help spread the word.

“Being a part of this is an incredible feeling for both of us,” Jana wrote. “It gives us a sense of doing our part to fight for our rights and for the rights of everyone in the gay and lesbian community.

“The photo itself represents our love for each other,” she continued, “and whether or not we can legally marry, that love is not going anywhere.” 

Getting involved is easy.  As a grassroots movement, you can join in on various social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where you will be kept up on the campaign's progress and notified of upcoming photo shoots.  The NOH8 website even offers instructions on how you can create your own NOH8 photos for submission, in case you cannot travel to the West Hollywood studio but still want to get involved.

As a non-profit, the small fee charged for participation goes directly to NOH8 and helps cover their expenses. The last photo shoot was held this past Wednesday, November 4th - the one year anniversary of the passing of Proposition 8. 

With the disappointing defeat of Question 1 in Maine this week, the NOH8 Campaign is poised to get even more steam behind it.  You can be part of that steam.  To get yourself involved, start following NOH8 today on Facebook and/or Twitter, visit www.noh8campaign.com, and then get out your white shirt and STRIKE A POSE for EQUALITY!

(Jana Newman and Angela Hergenroeder contributed to this article.)