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Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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noh8

Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley silent protesters. photographers. NOH8ers.

Celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley founded the NOH8 Campaign, a photographic silent protest in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8 in California. [www.noh8campaign.com]

PostBOUSKA.PARSHLEY

It’s important to be able to use your voice. Twenty years ago, we couldn’t be part of a campaign about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights without a big backlash. Today, we can stand up and make our voices heard to their fullest extent.

We started the NO H8 campaign as a protest to the passing of Proposition 8, which amended the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The fact that there was even a vote on those rights felt like a personal attack. When the majority has a right to vote on the rights of a minority, the minority is never going to win. We realized that if one person’s rights are at risk, everyone’s rights are at risk, and we had to do something about it.

The turning point in our lives was marching in the protests down Sunset Boulevard with thousands of people, demanding our rights back. It was an overwhelmingly moving experience to be part of that energy. We went home and asked ourselves What can we do? What do we have to give to the cause? We saw the solution when we looked around at the photo equipment and other tools and resources we had. The tape over people’s mouths in the photos we take for the campaign is about people trying to silence our voices and take away our rights.

We want people to see connections, like how calling people second-class citizens, not deserving of rights other humans have, connects to all the LGBT teen suicides over the past few years. It means a lot to be involved in something as powerful as the NO H8 campaign, to be doing things like giving young people the respect we wish we’d had more of growing up.

We weren’t activists when we started the NO H8 campaign, but seeing the ways the campaign speaks out on so many different issues has educated us. The campaign has become a community-driven effort to speak out for human equality. It’d be great to see it expand to a worldwide effort to live in a world with no hate.

We like helping people even though we don’t know them. Our efforts may educate someone or open a dialogue. Maybe they think the Proposition 8 issue doesn’t affect them personally, but if someone in their life is affected, someone they love and care about, then it does end up affecting them personally.

We need to care when voices are silenced. We need to step up for our friends.

- Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley

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