It is no surprise to anyone at this point that gay rights are a hot topic of discussion.

With people either thinking the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community deserves the same rights every other straight citizen has, or deserves to go to hell for even bringing up the issue, the debate continues with no clear resolutions in sight.

California’s Proposition 8, passed in November, changed the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, eliminating same-sex couples’ right to marry and hurting the morale of gay rights supporters. At the same time, gay marriage acknowledged in seven states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and District of Columbia, has‚ disappointed‚ oppositionists.

One impromptu activist has decided to talk about the human aspect and give these feelings a face.

Faces of Us is a photo campaign created by Brendan Davis with the purpose of bringing the fight for LGBT rights to the national spotlight.

The campaign is small but growing. It shows the ‚ members of the LGBT community and their friends and political allies as people. People from all over the United States send in photos of themselves with positive messages supporting gay rights, expressing a general message that love has no boundaries.

“The fight will not be won unless every legislator in the United States sees that these are their constituents and that the LGBT community deserves full equal rights under the law,” Davis said. “The American queer community will not be recognized as first class citizens until every single person in the United States realizes that these people are their neighbors or their friends, or even part of their family.”

“Somebody who is a member of the LGBT community, or a human being for that matter, should not have to look beyond the place that they consider home in order to find equal rights.”

Davis was inspired to create this online movement after Prop 8 was passed in California. He explains that frustration came after he says the ballot question was only addressing gay marriage in California when there are hundreds of gays in the entire nation. The issue should be addressed at a national level and not on a state-by-state basis.

“The entire nation saw what the LGBT was capable of, especially when rights are taken away,” Davis said. “My frustration came from the fact that we were only talking about California and that we were only talking about marriage.”

Davis said marriage was an important issue in the gay community but that there were other issues like equality in the work place and hate crime legislation to address too. “There are members of the community in every single state and every single person deserves equal rights,” Davis said.

Although the issues have always been present, the release of more films like Milk, which won big at this year’s Oscars, increases conversations about equality amongst the general public.

Currently more than 30 states are represented with photographs and through the use of Twitter and local media coverage the campaign is extending. Davis hopes for every state to be included through photos of citizens and for the photos to reach legislators so that they, too, can see the people gay rights restrictions affect.

“The project is important because it shows that there are LGBT people and allies in every state and that the community is so diverse. We come in every variety. The reaction to the project was, of course, mixed. However, the positive definitely outweighs the negative,” said Davis. “I made the choice to leave the comments unmediated so we were experiencing anonymous negativity. I thought of turning off comments altogether, then thought better of it.”

Davis also wants to set up a traveling tour around the country with his campaign, showing people what he has done and how they can contribute.

“Harvey Milk said that, ‘unless you have dialogue, unless you open the walls of dialogue, you can never reach to change people’s opinions.'”

About The Author

Bessie King is a Blast contributing editor. She can be reached at [email protected]

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