Today I drove just ten minutes from my house and was a part of a movement to promote "marriage, gender, and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest." Hey! Those are pretty much all of my favorite things. (I care about people getting married who want to, but it's not my favorite. It's...a good thing when it works. Everything else, yes.)
It's called NOH8, and it initially began as a response to the sad upholding of Proposition 8 in California, an amendment to the state constitution banning same sex marriage. Subjects pose with duct tape over their mouths, and in most cases in positions that support the concept of silence -- silent protest, silencing of civil rights, silencing of relationships and access and all of the things upon which our interconnectedness as human beings thrives.
I have been looking for a NOH8 shoot that I could get to since I started really paying attention to Question 6 in Maryland this year. We are stuck voting on the Maryland legislature's passage of lgbt marriage this year, because opponents took the passage to referendum with enough petition signatures to get it on the November ballot.
Because we don't have enough other stuff to do. Because people are that threatened by the desire of same sex couples to unite legally so that they may not only solidify their personal commitments to each other, but also their rights regarding property, health care, finances -- you know, all of the things that married couples share.
I don't know if I'll ever get married. I don't know if and when I ever opt to do so if it will be a man or a woman who rocks my organizational and emotional world in that way. Just don't. But I know that if I want to go to a courthouse and get a certificate to sign my life on with another human being's in my state, I don't want it to be my neighbor's vote that decides whether or not I get to do that, just because I happened to like that chick's chocolate better than that guy's peanut butter.
It is that simple, people.
So today, I got out of bed and I put makeup on and fixed my hair, on a Sunday. (THAT IS HOW MUCH I CARE ABOUT THIS.) I also may have done the same yesterday, because my friends who were going and I thought that the shoot was yesterday. So that makes two weekend days I have fixed my hair and put MAKEUP ON before 2. Or at all. And I drove to Gaithersburg, which is this small town not even ten minutes north of me, and I met my friends (who are legally married in Washington, D.C., thanks, Washington, D.C.) and got my picture taken.
You give them some money ($40 in my case, for which I get a digital print and this experience. I consider it my contribution to the cause of waking the hell up, America. Hello. I'd pay $40 a month to that cause.)
They put a tattoo on your cheeck, and duct tape on your mouth.
Adam Bouska does his thing.
And he is good. I have done portrait sessions, and the thing I still find most awkward is telling people what to do. It can feel false and weird, but he just looks at you and seems to intuitively know how to tell you to stand and what to do with your hands. I want to be that good at it.
I also appreciated him taking the pressure off of me. And from what I saw on the back of the camera, I knew he was right on. (Which you can tell from looking at the scads of portraits on the NOH8 site, anyway.)
Adam shoots them all. He travels to all of the cities where the shoots happen, and takes all of the pictures. He also hugs you at the end, and you can tell he means it.
I will get a digital print of my picture in a few weeks. I will then, undoubtedly, make it my Facebook picture, maybe my Twitter avatar. I don't even know. I will leave it on my computer for life.
It'll be way past November 6 when I get this picture. I hope by then that Maryland will have done the right thing and voted yes as a body on Question 6, so not only can I and anyone else who lives here throw black and white gender definitions out the window as a legal arbiter of marriageability (really, just make sure that mofo has a source of income and a VEHICLE, y'all, and that they are trustworthy and dig your scene. Let's get down to business, here.) But I can also take my own damn camera to Rockville City Hall and support my economy and our greater sense of humanity by shooting some fabulous, if tastefully understated, gay weddings.
I cannot tell you how much I want to do this.
I want this for Minnesota, Maine, and Washington State too -- the other places who have ballot initiatives coming up on Tuesday. I want this for our whole country. I just want people to be people, and not to have to worry about this anymore.
Yes on 6. NO MORE HATE, or H8. It's so over. Let's do this thing.