Yesterday was National Coming Out Day - a national day of LGBT awareness created by two LA-based gay politicos, Jean O'Leary and Rob Eichberg.
The Human Rights Campaign has resources to help you come out and they ask that during this election period, you encourage straight allies - including your local politicians and elected officials - to come out in support of equality. Luckily, in California, LGBT people have strong support from straight elected officials.
For instance, Last June, Rep. Adam Schiff said he wanted to be a leader on LGBT equality. Then he took action, organizing the California Democratic delegation to back the marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party Platform,
Last month, Schiff organized a photo shoot with the NOH8 Campaign - "NOH8 on The Hill" - during which 26 Members of Congress posed to show support of the NOH8 Campaign and LGBT rights. Almost 40 members have now posed for the campaign, a global art protest project conceived by West Hollywood-based photographer Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley after Prop 8. Click here to see the 26 members, some of whom are shown below.
Schiff said in a statement:
"Two people that love each other--regardless of their gender--should be able to make the same lasting commitment of marriage. That's why I am proud to participate in and support the NOH8 campaign. Through NOH8, over 25,000 participants have voiced their belief that everyone should have the same rights, regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. Our friends, neighbors and family members deserve to have their commitment recognized and the NOH8 campaign is on the forefront of that important battle."
It is worth noting that Rep. Lois Capps, who is featured in this NCOD-NOH8 campaign, is facing a very tough re-election in her 24th Congressional District but is nonetheless "honored" to be part of the NOH8 campaign.
Joining eleven other Members who had previously participated in the NOH8 campaign, the following Members of Congress took part: Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Jim McGovern (D- MA), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-NJ), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-CA). Previously posing for NOH8 were Adam Schiff (D-CA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), William Keating (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Nicki Tsongas (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Jackie Speier (D-CA).
Here are some of the 26 new members of the NCOD-NOH8 campaign:
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI): "Love is love. Whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender, no one should be denied the opportunity to express this love through marriage. I stand strong in my support of the LGBT community and marriage equality."
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA): "Projects like NOH8 are ensuring that marriage equality continues to be in the forefront of our fight for equality. I am proud to participate in the NOH8 Campaign to help draw attention to this ongoing civil rights battle in our state."
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ): "We've seen too much policy driven by hate in this country. Laws made by hate never expand liberties or protect rights. This NOH8 Campaign is about the fact that civil rights and basic liberty extend to all human beings in our nation regardless of any factor in their life, including who they love. This is why this campaign's important."
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA): "The passage of Proposition 8 was a very sad moment for not only the LGBT community, but allies as well. We're supposed to be a country of equality, that honors and celebrates the love of all committed couples. My wedding day was among the happiest in my life, and these beloved memories are experiences I wish for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. The NOH8 photographs are all about keeping the conversation going, so that no voice is silenced, and our country can have a vibrant and meaningful discussion about the values we all share."
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA): "This is a great campaign. I'm from California and the tragic fight we had over Prop 8 is still fresh in my mind. So this just comes full circle. NOH8 is a huge statement and I'm honored to be a part of it."
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA): "I'm Congressman Sam Farr, a Democrat representing California's Central Coast. I'm very excited about this campaign because it's sad that a vocal minority has been able to deny a group of citizens their rights. We've got to fight for justice for everyone in this country."
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA): "I believe marriage equality is a civil rights issue. Love deserves celebrating, not shaming, and no one should feel harassed or unsafe because of who they are. I am proud to stand with NOH8 on the side of love."