NoH8 at the LA Aids Walk

When I started this blog, I mentioned that I wanted to highlight a different human rights organization each month. Well, it’s that time again. This month I want to talk about the NoH8 Campaign.

 On November 4, 2008, Proposition 8 passed in California, which amended the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The hugely discriminatory “Prop 8” provoked quite a few initiatives in the LGBT community. Many new organizations were formed to protest this amendment. As stated on the NoH8 website:

 The NoH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska (<- link: http://www.bouska.net) and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NoH8” painted on one cheek in protest.

It’s been nearly two and a half years and the NoH8 Campaign now includes over 13,000 faces and is still growing. The campaign started with every day Californians and has now grown to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities and many more.

There has been an overwhelming amount of support for this campaign from around the world and the images can be seen everywhere. They frequently make appearances on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the message of equality. The idea is that eventually the images will be compiled for a large-scale media campaign.

I was lucky enough to be able to take part in one of the photo shoots, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia earlier this month. I’ll be posting the picture once I receive it. I would encourage everyone to get involved and take part in one of the upcoming open photo shoots. You can pose individually or as part of a group for a discount and all proceeds go to the campaign efforts to repeal Prop 8. To see if there’s an upcoming shoot near you, please click on the image below.

 On October 16, 2011, APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles) will be hosting their annual fundraiser, AIDS Walk Los Angeles. I’ll be walking with the NoH8 Campaign as they are hosting a team for the second consecutive year in order to help raise awareness for HIV and AIDS. All funds raised by the NoH8 Campaign and AIDS Walk Los Angeles goes directly to APLA. Since it began in 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has benefited APLA, an AIDS service organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS.

 I strongly urge everyone living in or visiting the Los Angeles area in October to come out and support the cause. If you can’t make it to the event personally and have the means to do so, please consider making a donation directly by clicking the link below. Thank you, everyone, for your support.

As most of you know, my sister and I are going to LA in October. We’re going to be joining the NoH8 Campaign at the LA AIDS walk. We’d be eternally grateful for any contributions made to the cause. (Donations can be made by clicking on the link.)

A great new PSA created by the NoH8 Campaign in response to Freedom to Marry’s letter to President Obama:

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Philly QFest 2011: Finding Mr. Wright

As you all know, I’m a big fan of the independent gay film genre and an even bigger fan of Matthew Montgomery.  So when I heard that his new movie was coming to the Philadelphia QFest, I knew I had to see it.

“Boy Meets Girl, Boy Helps Girl, Girl Helps Boy get Boy”

As someone who has complained of late that all the storylines seem to be the same, this one was refreshingly new. Clark Townsend (Montgomery) is a work-obsessed gay man who seemingly has it all. Not only is he one of the hottest young men in West Hollywood, he has managed to turn his first client, Eddy Malone (Rebekah Kochan), an eccentric party girl, into one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood. He throws a dinner party at his new condo and invites his friends and colleagues, including TJ (Rasool J’Han), a powerhouse lesbian publicist, who’s quickly losing patience with Eddy’s wild ways. With TJ comes longtime friend, Pierce Wright (David Moretti), a slightly awkward, down to Earth, spiritual life coach who becomes infatuated with Clark at first sight. However, Clark is far too wrapped up in Eddy to notice, especially when she pulls a stunt that threatens her career and forces TJ to drop her as a client once and for all. Hoping to win Clark over, Pierce makes a deal with TJ. He’ll take Eddy and crew on a wilderness therapy retreat, so he can convince her there’s more to life than parties, and TJ will give her another chance. That weekend, the group of them head to a cabin in the woods, where Pierce hopes to give not only Eddy a new perspective on life, but Clark as well…

I know I stated before that I’m an avid Matthew Montgomery (Back Soon, Long-term Relationship, Socket) fan and I haven’t seen a work from him yet that I didn’t enjoy. I would have seen Finding Mr. Wright just for that. However, I have to give props where they’re due, and in this piece the entire cast blew me away. David Moretti (The Lair) plays the awkward but sweet Pierce to perfection. There were several instances in which I wanted to smack Clark upside the head to get him to notice. I’ve also been a Rebekah Kochan (Homewrecker, the upcoming Crimson Creek) fan since the Eating Out series and I think this has to be one of her best roles. She was hilarious and crazy, yet she also managed to make Eddy sympathetic. You just had to like her. My favorite, though, was probably Rasool J’Han (Socket, Pornography: A Thriller) as the angry, black  lesbian, TJ. Her deadpan delivery of the witty dialogue was just flawless.

I also want to give shout outs to the stars behind the scenes. With so many things going on at once, it could have easily been chaos, but Nancy Criss directed this entire film beautifully. Jake Helgren wrote the screenplay and I never would have believed this was his first feature film. The movie was produced by Nancy Criss, Tracy Wright and Matthew Montgomery (is there anything he doesn’t do?) in conjunction with Nandar Entertainment and Proteus Pictures.

Finding Mr. Wright kept me engaged from the opening to closing credits. I found myself laughing, but also really feeling for these characters. The dialogue was witty and heartwarming. It moved at just the right pace and I found myself wishing it wouldn’t end. I was definitely left wanting more and I already can’t wait to see it again. It comes out on DVD and Blu-ray with plenty of wonderful extras promised on September 1, and I know I’ll be picking up my copy as soon as it’s available. For the rest of you Montgomery fans out there, Nandar Home Entertainment is also offering a special edition boxed set of Finding Mr. Wright and Role/Play.

And just to show you how multi-talented these guys are, be sure to check out Matthew Montgomery’s directorial debut in Crimson Creek coming out in 2012, starring Rebekah Cochan, Nancy Criss and Tracy Wright.

**On an unrelated note**

I’m always looking for worthy causes to promote and I’ve definitely found one in this. Matthew Montgomery has announced that he is doing the LA Aids Walk again this October and I would encourage everyone who can to consider donating by clicking the image above.