“Growing up around family members and, later, friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender sensitized me to these issues and I want to continue to make a difference. I support equal rights and marriage equality.” Lana Parrilla
On August 2012, Lana Parrilla stood up in front of an audience of LGBT community members and supporters at the HRC Cleveland Gala to initiate her active involvement in their human rights campaign.
Beautiful in a black cocktail dress, wearing her famous brilliant smile and holding a feather tight in her hand, she spoke about acceptance, about growing up without understanding prejudices and embracing love for what it was. She spoke about an outcast Evil Queen, misunderstood and different, who dealt with this loneliness her way, casting her spell of sadness on the people around her. Certainly the wrong way to deal with her issues, but surely the best example to explain how incredibly damaging societal exclusion can be to a person.
To us, the central point of her speech was about one thing in particular: Courage. Her courage to stand up and take action, her cousin’s courage to embrace love against his family’s prejudices and her friend Joshua Ferguson’s courage to overcome a violent and terrifying experience and to become an active spokesperson against gay teen suicide, bullying and trans-phobia.
We feel compelled to support Lana in this cause, not only to show her that her work in raising awareness is having an impact on us but also because we feel this is the right thing to do. We believe in the freedom of loving regardless of gender and in equality for all couples, we believe that gay teens and adults should be protected against bullying and that society should work on a more tolerant environment.
The world have shown us how unaccepted and persecuted the LGBT community is in some countries. Pictures of crying and bloodied faces coming from Russia are invading the social networks, spreading a veil of sadness and helplessness. But we refuse to accept this without a fight. As small as what we can do, we must do it. Let’s start educating ourselves.
The alarming situation in Russia: While Human Rights associations have been celebrating new important goals for the LGBT community in many countries, September has brought one of the most terrifying defeats for all campaigns. The Russian government has introduced a law against “homosexual propaganda”, basically outlawing any public display of affection for same sex couples and, consequently, emboldening homophobic and racist groups in violent raids against members of the community. In this moment living your life in Russia as a homosexual means being an easy target of violence, incarceration and humiliation without any protection by any law.
While doing our research we have read about some crude and painful stories, we are not going to write about them here, because we are aware that not everyone can stand such displays. We did not handle them very well ourselves so we are giving you just an input in order for you to do your own research and decide what you want to see or read and what not, but, please, educate yourselves about this situation, support these people and don’t let media forget about them.
We do believe there is always a ray of light in any situation, that feather that tells you you’re doing the right thing and you can actually win the battle. The light in the darkness that is homophobia and bullying comes in the form of many human rights campaigns which support the LGBT community in their search for equality. What we say today is: get involved!
One of the most famous campaigns, supported by Lana herself, is NOH8. It was created by photographer Adam Bouska after, Proposition 8 passed in California banning same-sex marriage, on November 2008. Lana Parrilla is one of the 33,000 faces that support their silent photographic protest against Prop 8 and any similar legislation around the world. You can find all the info and their beautiful photos on their official site www.noh8campaign.com.
LANA PARRILLA - HRC CLEVELAND GALA
Watch Lana Parrilla speak at the HRC Cleveland Gala, click below to watch the whole speech.
It’s something no one should miss!
WHISPERS OF LIFE
Tom is a gay teenager who is bullied by his classmates, a stranger witnessing the bullying is ready to take Tom on a fantastical journey in his own imagination, changing forever the course of his life. Gay teen suicide is a serious issue which is not discussed enough by media and society in general, this short movie, produced by Lana’s dear friend Joshua Ferguson, and directed by Joshua's husband Florian Halbedl, is a the right chance to discuss and raise awareness.
If you are looking for information about the screening dates, cast and crew and the many awards this little masterpiece has been gaining since being released, we suggest you take a look at its official site www.whispersoflife.com and follow Joshua Ferguson (@joshuamferguson) and Florian Halbedl (@florianhalbedl) on Twitter for instant news about their anti-bullying and gay teen suicide prevention constant work.