My wife and our close friends and I conducted our own NOH8 photo shoot last weekend. We took a stand for equality by displaying our message in various platforms. It was so much fun, and definitely a unique experience.
For those of you unfamiliar, the NOH8 Campaign is a 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. For our shoot, my photographer friend offered up her pad, along with her backdrop and lighting. We all wore white shirts, and practiced our poses.
The great thing about this campaign is that each person being photographed gets to bring his/her personality into the shot. You can use props, hand gestures, or even other people. My wife and I really wanted to capture our love for our son in the shoot. We wanted to represent our family- and other families like ours.
From the NOH8 site:
Five years since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has grown to nearly 33,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more.
While inspired by the passage of Prop 8, the scope of the NOH8 Campaign has grown to stand against discrimination and bullying of all kinds. The message of ‘No Hate’ can be interpreted and applied broadly, and speaks to each person in their own way.
The NOH8 Campaign has received overwhelming support from around the world, and has appeared in various local and national news programs and publications. The images are widely used on various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the message of equality.
What it meant to me:
This is a direct representation of the current legislation occurring in my home state- Michigan, regarding lifting the ban on same sex marriage, and allowing lesbians and gays to be married. I am very passionate about this case, as it affects my wife, my son, and I. Just keep fighting. Just keep fighting for our rights!
While our photo shoot was something a bunch of us decided to do on our own, the campaign does travel the world, hosting professional open photo shoots. This is something I would like to participate in one day. What is even more fantastic is that you can take your own NOH8 photos and upload them to the website.
This is what it is all about, people. Unity. Equality. Taking a stand. And why not do it creatively?
The latest PSA is rather compelling, and this issue affects women (and men) everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you are straight, gay, bi, or questioning. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, pink, or purple. It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, fat, skinny, short, or tall. Sexual assault is happening. It is a crime and it is wrong. It robs the lives of it’s victims. No means no. Check out the video to see some of our favorite men setting the record straight. Remember- 1 is 2 many.
74-year-old Navy veteran, Madelynn Taylor would like her wife to be buried with her in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, but officials will not allow it. Idaho doesn’t recognize her same sex marriage. She followed standard protocol, taking her discharge papers and marriage certificate to the Veterans Cemetery to apply to be buried there with her wife when she passes away, but was at a loss when they would not process her request.
“I thought they’d say okay because in any federal cemetery it is okay, in any national cemetery,” Taylor said. “I could take the same documents and get buried in Arlington if I needed to, with no problems. But here they said it’s a state veterans cemetery, not a national cemetery. So we have to go by the state laws.”
Click this link to view a video clip on Taylor:
Taylor and her late wife Jean Mixner married at a church retreat in Oregon in 1995, and formally in a California courthouse six years ago.
Taylor, who served six years in the Navy from 1958 to 1964, says that while she could be buried together in another veterans cemetery, she says as a longtime Idaho resident with brothers and sisters here, she doesn’t want to settle. She wants to be in Idaho’s Veterans Cemetery, with her wife by her side.
“I just feel that it’s the right place for me,” she says. “I want Jean with me.”
Source: LGBTQ Nation
Surely you have heard in the news or from friends that Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional last week. The update on this situation is that everything has been put on hold. What’s more is that hundreds of couples have actually gotten married once the ruling was announced. Check out this video to get a deeper look at what is going on in my state.
A remarkable notch in the belt of equality happened yesterday when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill in the state of Arizona. The bill backed by republicans in the Legislature was designed to give added protection from lawsuits to businesses who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays. What this really meant is a legal permission slip to discriminate. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act could have been used to protect businesses that discriminate not only against the LGBT community but also unmarried women or veterans, among other groups. It is unfair in theory, context, and practice. “Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.” Governor Brewer was under a great deal of pressure from both supporters, particularly republicans, and opponents of the bill. She concluded her official statement, “Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans.”
Read Governor Brewer’s full statement here.
Many people are comparing these discriminatory notions to the Jim Crow laws that were in place during the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s. These laws enabled public racial segregation in the southern United States.
Taking it to Reality
When I began to think about the reality of how this would affect the lgbt community, I realized it could potentially become a total war. Imagine wanting to buy your dream house with your partner, but being turned away by realtors. What about going to the pharmacy for a life dependent prescription, or even hormone replacement therapy medication, and the pharmacist passing judgement, refuses to administer your medicine. Wedding industry companies refusing to sell you a dress, a cake, engagement rings, or even rent you a hall for your special day. Imagine not being able to take your kids on a family outing to one of those indoor amusement parks that children love so much, simply because you are a same sex family. Restaurants, clothing boutiques, hotels – the list goes on. Even though I am not a resident of Arizona, I am rejoicing a the decision made by the governor. It was a step in the right direction to stamp out discrimination and say that it is not okay.
Second class citizens. Unfit parents. Sinners. The protesters in front of the courthouse parade their beliefs in your face, judging you, mentally spitting where you walk. Supporters of the DeBoer v. Snyder case persevere through the crowd, showing little to no emotion. This is the scene from the same sex marriage trial is currently taking place in my town, on behalf of the state of Michigan.
My wife and I attended the first day of the trial, yesterday, and plan to make as many of the several court dates as we can. This is absolutely monumental and affects my family directly, as my wife and I cannot have our marriage recognized where we live. I am also unable to adopt our son, nor do I have any legal ties to him. Just that alone is incredibly painful and unfair. All hope and faith go into a victory with this case, for the adoring couple involved, their children, and those of us in the state of Michigan who need to stop being treated like we are less than. I will keep updates on this case as it progresses.
Learn more about April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse here:
Read more on this trial by clicking the link below to the CBS blog.
Welcome to my new blog. If you are here and you are closed-minded, hateful, unaccepting, or an asshole- you can leave. If you are open, loving, and believe in equal rights- then please stay awhile! Being that this is the first post of the new blog, I’ll keep it short and sweet. There are some exciting topics coming up in the near future, including current debates over same sex marriage and adoption (particularly in Detroit, where I live), I’ll share my experiences with the dating scene, as well as my 6 year marriage to my wife. I’ll also talk about how we started our family, including donor selection, insemination, and now the light of our life, our sweet baby boy. I like posting fun and sexy pictures, music, legal stuff, news, and a smorgasbord of all things lez.
So, sit back, tune in, and enjoy the ride!