Today is National Coming Out Day, which recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. And the NOH8 Campaign is raising awareness by posting photos of members of Congress with their mouths taped shut.
Allow me to explain.
NOH8, which started in 2008 as a photographic project in response to California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriages, hit the Hill on Sept. 25 for a photo shoot held in the Quakers' lobbying building and in Cannon (they also did one in February). The result: photos of more than 30 members of Congress with their mouths taped shut, intended to symbolize "voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation." The campaign has similar photos of more than 20,000 people.
Some members of Congress simply held up the duct tape with their hands (here's looking at you, Democratic Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Zoe Lofgren). But most are rocking the duct tape firmly across their mouths while striking some pretty darn intimidating poses ("You do not want to mess with me," is the internal dialogue I hear. You?). Here are some of our favorite intimidating photos, courtesy of NOH8:
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, left, stares down against Prop 8-like legislation. Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, right, pumps his fist for marriage equality.
California Rep. Janice Hahn's hands say "love," but her eyes are all focus, baby. On the right, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, who was photographed in February, is either about to duct tape himself, or duct tape the photographer.
See all the photos here.