The Equality Project



Think for one moment about all the people living on this planet.

Tons of people right?

Now strip away all the material possessions they own, the money they have, their job title, their status, their belief system, everything!

What is left?

Human Beings. 

At the very core we are all human, we all react differently to different situations, we all have different morals and values, but at the very core-all still human. We are all on different journeys.  

Shy. Quiet. Mute. Boring. All words people have used to describe me. Labels and titles can hurt, destroy and even change a person. There is a force inside of me that grabs hold and wont allow me to speak. I will never know why I have such a hard time starting conversations but I do. I understand what it is like to be misunderstood. 

It is so easy to lash out, call names or use foul or hurtful language toward a person or a group of people without taking the time to get to know them or understand their story. My hope is that I can use this project to encourage others to think twice about someone else's situation and truly try to understand the stories of those around them.

This project was started out of anger. Anger towards people who were hateful to the LGBTQ community. Posting articles about transgendered woman and calling them men, posting articles about why its not okay for a homosexual couples to get married, articles that support business owners that discriminated against homosexual couples, once saw a video that joked about getting killed in other countries for being gay. I was sick of reading one sided articles and wanted to understand what it is about the LGTBQ community that has people so angry they have to lash out. I don't know if I will ever understand why people are so hurtful but I do know out of my anger something amazing, beautiful, and positive has been born. This equality project has opened my eyes and my heart. I have been able to meet so many amazing human beings!

Promoting marriage equality is a big part of this project but not the only aspect! Homosexual men and women are killed in other countries, such as Iran, Saudia Arabia, Nigera, Yemen, and Uganda, where religious extremists have convinced their government to create a death penalty for those identifying as LGBTQ. Suicide rates in this country are high among the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to commit suicide compared to their straight peers. LGBTQ youth are kicked out of their homes often due to family conflict, 20% of the homeless youth are LGBT. This MUST stop! We do not choose the bodies we are born in, we do not choose the brains we live with, we do not choose who we fall in love with. This is something that exists inside of us from the day we were born. 

When I started this project in April of this year, Marriage equality did not exist yet but was well on its way. Just one month in, Marriage equality was a reality! However, the fight is not over. There are still laws that allow others to discriminate against those who are LGBTQ. 

Portraits are intended to be a representation of who a person truly is, and these portraits most definitely show the good, loving, and passionate hearts that my subjects posses. I'm bringing an army of portraits of people who were bold enough to take time out of their day, tell their story, and have their images captured in order to stand for a cause. A cause that can echo through our digital highways 

This will be an ongoing project. Now that I have hit my first goal of 100 people, I can share it with the world. But, I am not stopping there my next goal is 1000 portraits! If you are interested in this project and would like to participate you can email me at I live in the California Bay Area, travel is possible if enough people from one area will be participating.  Please feel free to share this project and help spread positivity!

Ashly Deskins

I am Ashly. I recently moved from Ohio to Northern California with my husband Kevin. I graduated from The Ohio State University in December of 2013 with my B.A. in Arts. I am a photographer and involve myself in various crafts. A certain level of madness sets in if I do not have a project in the works or ideas in mind. I love walking into craft or home improvement stores and getting inspired with all the possibilities. My passion of photography started in high school when I took a film class. I enjoyed the class but never considered photography could be any more than a hobby. I quickly realized how that was not true. My husband (then boyfriend) started getting into Photography which lead to a degree and career. I was often his model in his photography classes and quickly realized how intriguing this art was. I took photography classes during the course of getting my art degree and fell in love again.