Volunteer Journal #72 – The NoH8 Portrait


I was about to jump the border.  At the last minute I got the opportunity to work and live in Europe for the summer. It was a chance to work on a children’s book (8-12 year old age group) that I had conceived 5 years ago and had outlined in full and started the previous year.

Between brushing up on my Spanish, rehabbing injuries sustained when I was hit by a drunk driver in April, finding and packing sensible walking shoes, regular work stuff, lining up someone to take care of my US stuff, and going to play rehearsal for my play Things Unsaid opening in NoHo with one of the best casts ever - I was swamped.


I found out that NOH8 was doing one of their famous photo shoots in Long Beach, CA about 30 minutes from my house only days before I left town! Must do!

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.”

I’m always big on education as a method of social change, but the truly unique driving force behind this organization is the visual protest i.e. picture campaign launched by celeb photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley.

In 2008 California adopted a hard line against marriage equality when Proposition 8 amended the California constitution to ban same sex marriage.

The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world.”

This is how the photo shoot worked.  Wearing white (required!) I showed up about 30 minutes early so I was one of the first people in line. (No, cutting corners for you people – I want to experience what you guys will experience, so I stand my ass in line – word!). I filled out a photograph release form, and paid ($40 donation) for Adam to take a few shots. Next a NOH8 temporary tattoo was plastered to my cheek, and finally the emblematic/nerve racking silver duct tape is placed over your mouth. Awkward.  Claustrophobics beware. Then I stood in front of Adam on a white background and he told me how to pose aka what looks best. He picks the winning photo and airbrushes it, so no worries about looking pretty. 6 to 8 weeks later you get your photo.

This is volunteering, in that, you’re taking time out of your day to show up and show support, and it’s also a donation $40.

Now I’m pounding back green tea and Jacob’s Cream Crackers every morning, working on my book, and procrastinating by checking to see if the picture has come back yet.  They said 6 to 8 weeks, but you never know....

The NOH8 Campaign is an inventive and fun way to raise money for a good cause.  In the wake of North Carolina’s decision to ban same sex marriage this month more work clearly needs to be done for equality.

* My NOH8 pic isn’t ready yet so instead here’s a pic of me outside a conveniently named pub.