World AIDS Day 2014

The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska & his partner, Jeff Parshley, in response to the passage of Proposition 8. Subjects are photographed with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 & other similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek in protest.

Four years since it began, these photos are totally a “thing.”

Make love without fear.  #WorldAIDSDay

Make love without fear. #WorldAIDSDay

I had my photo taken at the Filmore Theatre when Bouska came to Detroit for World AIDS Day in 2011.

For highly personal reasons, HIV/AIDS awareness is one of my pet causes, symbolized by the red ribbon in my choker. The beadwork was done by a female family member, with the rainbow colors traditionally associated with the Queer community. I choose to pose with my drum to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among member of my community. American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/NA) have a 30% higher rate of HIV infection as compared to the white population. American Indian/Alaska Natives have a 50% higher AIDS rate as compared to the white population. In 2011, American Indian/Alaska Native women were almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection, as compared to the White female population.

As of 2014, an estimated 35 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS. New HIV infections have fallen by 38 percent since 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The theme of this year’s World AIDS Days is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation” — drawing attention to collaborative, preventative efforts working toward an AIDS-free world.

Today, I remember Peta & David Kirby, two men whose photos changed the face of AIDS. I light a candle for all the families who have lost a loved one to this epidemic, and pray that a shadow will not fall over our hearth & home for another year.

How will you commemorate World AIDS Day 2014?


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