The became a "No Hate Zone" Tuesday night, with more than 500 people celebrating the NOH8 silent protest photo campaign's third anniversary.
Mayor John Duran and Councilman John D’Amico were on hand to declare Dec. 13 "NOH8 Day" in West Hollywood and present campaign founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley with NOH8 proclamations.
“This is about your generation flaming the current civil rights movement that is going on in this country," Duran told the crowd—most of whom were in their 20s. “Now is your generation’s turn to stand up against hate.”
The NOH8 campaign began in the wake of the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex couples from marrying in the state of California. Bouska and Parshley took photos of themselves, their mouths taped to symbolize how their voices had been silenced.
They soon began taking photos of celebrities with grey tape and the NOH8 logo painted on their cheeks to show solidarity. From there, the campaign grew to symbolize the fight against discrimination.
“I think when Jeff and Adam did it originally, it was a form of public protest,” Duran told Weho Patch. “It’s gone on to become an artform that raises a lot of consciousness about gay people being treated differently. What started as a simple idea has grown into a consciousness idea that people all over the country know about.”
Large NOH8 photos lined the balcony overlooking the main stage area, while collages of NOH8 photos taken in the past three years were on display in the back of the room. NOH8 paraphemailia, including t-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons, were for sale as well.
Bouska treated the audience to a photo session with several celebrities in attendance. He set up his lights and white backdrop, then added the grey tape and NOH8 logo to their faces and began to photograph.
“That was a real treat,” said Angela Ramierez of Hollywood. “I’d never seen a photo session before. I can’t wait to see which photos he uses.”
Actress Ashley Fink who starred in the 2006 movie Fat Girls and also appears in the TV series Glee told Patch she considers the NOH8 campaign one of the most important ones around today.
“I think that equality is so necessary,” Fink said. “Anything that’s not equal isn’t something that we should settle for. I love these guys and I’m happy to support these guys.”
A posse of young Days of Our Lives stars were in attendance led by Chandler Massey who plays Will Horton, a character who will soon be coming out as gay on the soap opera.
“I’m a big fan of NOH8,” Massey told Patch. “I’ve done a couple of things with them and a picture, so I’m here to show what support I can.”
His co-star Camila Banus, who plays Gabriella Hernandez, said, “The most important thing just to be equal, because we are all equal. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are and what you like, we’re all equal.”
Other celebrities in attendance included singer Leann Rimes, Queer as Folk star Hal Sparks, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star Jai Rodriquez, Dancing with the Stars pro Louis Van Amstel, One Day at Time star Mackenzie Phillips and Back to the Future mom Lea Thompson.
Darryl McDaniels, who goes by the stage name of DMC, treated the audience to a selection of songs. He credited NCIS star Pauley Perrette with getting him involved with NOH8 and challenged the audience to do their part to end hate in this country.
Perrette and DMC then did two songs together, including “Walk This Way,” which brought his group Run DMC to fame in the mid-80s.
As the party ended at around 11:30 p.m., the House of Blues DJ advised all attending that they should leave as activists, encouraging them to take the "No Hate" message to parents, to friends to work and to church.