Students show NOH8 with striking poses

A picture is worth a thousand words; imagine how many words thousands of pictures make. In three years, the NOH8 Campaign has snapped more than 20,000 photos across the country.

There was immediate feedback when NOH8’s first trip to Houston was announced. The Council of Ethnic Organizations hosted an open photo shoot Thursday by NOH8 with celebrity photographer and co-founder Adam Bouska.

“When they (NOH8) posted on Facebook, they got around 500 people within the first couple of days,” said Adriann Hobbs, liberal studies senior and director of CEO.

NOH8 began as a protest in California shortly after the original passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008, which banned same-sex marriage.

According to the campaign’s website, Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley — who felt their voices were silenced — began the picture protest to strike back.

The subjects of the photos dress in white tops with duct tape covering their mouths to symbolize their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation.

Although CEO is not the first organization someone thinks of when it comes to gay rights, the organization is known for dealing with issues related to culture diversity and Hobbs said it was time to expand.

“We are trying to broaden it out — to cover the full spectrum of diversity within UH because UH is the second most diverse school in the nation,” the Hobbs said. “We’re trying to focus on cultural diversity, but also LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) rights, age, gender and religion. Mainly anything that focuses on what makes UH what it is.”

According to Hobbs, the event attracted more than 800 participants.

Members of the Houston LGBT Community Center — like Mark King and his partner Charles Stevens — were also invited to strike a pose at the event.

“We’ve been together for about a year now, and we wanted to come out and show our support — have our picture taken,” King said. “When we heard NOH8 was coming here — (for their) first time in Houston — we had to come and see how many people would show up.”

Students came to show support and take a stand against the hate, like journalism freshman Jose Iraheta.

“I have friends and family who are gay, lesbian, bi(sexual) or transgender — including myself,” Iraheta said. “I realized I was gay last year and seeing all the hate I read on so many blogs — it’s just hurtful — but at the same time, programs like these give me hope.”

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