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Saturday 11 April 2015

Chris Olwage joins NOH8-ers

Posted in: Hall of Fame
By Jacqui Stanford - 1st October 2014

New Zealand’s 2013 Mr Gay World Chris Olwage has taken part in the NO H8 campaign, a photo blog which began in 2008 against California’s anti-equality Proposition 8.


Since it began the grassroots photographic silence campaign has spread like wildfire, with more than 33,000 photos of people from all over the world taking part with duct tape over their mouths, symbolising their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with "NOH8" painted on one cheek in protest.

Olwage says in his year as Mr Gay World he got to go all over the world. He says everywhere he went there was a stall with NOH8 founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley working tirelessly on the silent activism campaign.

“We first met in Antwerp, Blegium when I won Mr Gay World, they had received the philanthropy award from the organisation, but I didn't have a chance to catch them then. Since it has been a game of cat and mouse and eventually I found them in Rome. Their campaign is truly inspirational and I am hoping to create the same ripples for change with my own Black Swan Project. I just have to find that certain something!”

Olwage says supporting NOH8 was a no-brainer.

As for the hat he is wearing, he bought it at a party in Belgium. “It has actually got SUPERGAYS written under the peak, and is an awesome reminder of the event, the place and my own power, I'm a SuperGay, ha ha!”

While inspired by the passage of Prop 8, the scope of the NOH8 Campaign has grown to stand against discrimination and bullying of all kinds. Its creators say the message of 'No Hate' can be interpreted and applied broadly, and speaks to each person in their own way.

Olwage is not the first New Zealander to take part, here are others who have:

Natalie Zibung, who runs women's Lick parties in NZ and Aus

Olympian Blake Skjellerup

OverWatch's Corporal Hemi Frires, Squadron Leader Stu Pearce and Flight Lieutenant Rebecca Cosford

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Jacqui Stanford - 1st October 2014