NOH8: The Cause, The Campaign, The Interview
Photographs by Nicole Berry
Proposition 8, the prop that ended up refusing to grant marriage equality in California, has struck a chord with not just residents, but with a nation that recognizes the bigger discrimination still going on in our country. Photographer Adam Bouska and businessman Jeff Parshley set out to be a voice in the move to get Proposition 8 overturned through their photographed silent protests. Through their NOH8 Campaign, Adam and Jeff have seen thousands of people willing to be part of such a great cause by getting their photo taken with duct tape over their mouths and a NOH8 temporary tattoo on their face.
Cliq Magazine: What inspired you to start the NOH8 campaign?
Adam: We initially started in direct response to Prop 8. We took part in the rally in West Hollywood. We were inspired and were emotionally moved by the experience and we wanted to do more for the cause. Early that night we started taking pictures with Jeff and from there Jeff posted it on Myspace.
CM: How did the campaign take off?
Jeff: It took off through social networking. Everybody’s friends see it, and they ask about it. Once they are informed, they want to be a part of it. The first maybe 1,000 were everyday people through social networking.
CM: How has it changed both of your lives?
A: …It has given me access to work with new clients, meet new people, and help give exposure to our NOH8 campaign. It always keeps me busy. (Laughs.)
J: Mentally it has changed me. I probably feel for more people than I did before because I wasn’t an activist. Now I see other people’s lives and I take that into consideration. Makes me want to do as much as I can.
A: In the process it educated us and opened our eyes. The fact that someone’s rights can be voted on and taken away…It’s not the fact of marriage equality, it’s the fact that someone’s human rights are at stake. And that is what we are trying to relay.
CM: What are the positives and negatives of becoming well known?
A: Positive—the power to influence more and actually do something proactive with it.
J: Not a negative, but sad thing is to see opposition within the community.
CM: What has been your favorite experience so far?
A: The culmination of the whole experience and being able to be a part of this. It was cool when we went to Dallas, because we were able to see other people from a different state responding to what is going on in California. In their own respect, they were reaching out to us which was very special to us…In DC we joined a student lead rally for the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” which went from Washington Monument to George Washington University. All the students had duct tape on their mouths and at the end they tore off their duct tape and screamed in front of the White House. It was great to see art turn into a life movement.
J: The one that sticks out the most is when we went back to my home state and we shot NOH8 photos in the high school I went to in New Hampshire. My gym teacher and high school friends came to the photo shoot. It was great to see people who live on the other side of the country support our cause in their community…For them to show their support was icing on the cake
A: Another fun moment is when we got to go on the set of Glee to take a NOH8 photo of Jane Lynch.
CM: What are the next plans for NOH8?
A: Still building up our organization. We will keep on doing open shoots and from there take our cause to raise awareness to different cities and states.
J: Showing that this is not a California issue. We won’t stop until homophobia no longer exists and discrimination is a thing of the past.
To get involved and find out more information on the NOH8 Campaign or Adam and Jeff, please visit: