NOH8 Campaign spreads message of acceptance for 15 years and counting

A small, grassroots nonprofit that has been a galvanizing force for change in the LGBTQ+ community for 15 years and counting. 

The NOH8 Campaign got its start on a crusade to spread a simple message — love, acceptance, and respect for all human beings. The organization found tremendous power in a picture. So far, the NoH8 campaign has taken nearly 70,000 images.

"These people wanted to be represented. They weren't being heard. So we had a new responsibility to make sure that was happening." said co-founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley.

The non-profit got its start in 2008 after California voters approved Proposition 8 — banning same-sex marriage. Members and allies of the LGBTQ community took to the streets, grabbing protest signs and bullhorns. In solidarity, Bouska and Parshley grabbed a camera.

"The duct tape was a symbol, symbolized a nation of how we were silenced by the state. And this kind of right should never be voted on. And a lot of people, in fact, effectively were silenced," Bouska said.

"We wanted to find a way to share that same messaging, but like show our faces and put a face to the fight and to create a connection between our friends and our followers that this is something that affects us. And if you care about us, you should feel affected," Parshley added.

The NoH8 campaign became part of a powerful movement and gave visibility for what has often been a difficult journey for many in the LGBTQ community. It also provided a way for countless companies and celebrities to speak up.

"Really the everyday people that are the foundation of our campaign. But when you get a DM on Twitter from Miley Cyrus saying, ‘Hey, can I be a part of your organization,’ we're like, ‘Yes, you can.’ And so I think it just also goes to show how many people supported equality and maybe just didn't have an outlet to tell people that, you know, in these photos provided an outlet for people to vocalize their support," Parshley said.

The pair have taken their project to 48 states and 23 countries, and they haven’t stopped. These days they drop into cities and small towns across the country on board a camper.

"In many ways, we say that we're just getting started. Because there are so many issues today that show that this message is still needed," says Bouska.

In a way, Bouska and Parsley have served as historians for the LGBTQ community — capturing both struggle and triumph.

"A lot of people have transitioned, and we have a photo of them before they did. We have a photo of them in the middle of it, and we have a photo of them after they did. A lot of people come and are a couple, and they do a photo as a couple and then the next year they come in, one of them is pregnant and then the next year they come and there's a baby. And then the next year they come and there's two babies. So we're documenting families that are growing through the years as well, and just showing that we're all so similar," Parshley said.

For everyone who takes part, their project has become a constant reminder —  the years may pass, no matter what new challenges you may face. You will always have each other.

"Our message is that you're not alone and that there's a community of people that support you," Bouska said. "And the fact that we've been here for 15 years doing it, we're not going to give up. We're going to continue doing this for 15 more years if that's what it's going to take. Sometimes reiterating a message like this seems simple, but it's important"

Bouska and Parshley are now crisscrossing the country, doing about 40 shoots in about 80 days. This Pride month "Kidrobot" has teamed up with the NOH8 campaign. The familiar Kidrobot "Dunny" features the iconic "NOH8" logo and duct-taped mouth. It has rainbow ears and is filled with colored hearts.

For more information on this and for upcoming NoH8 campaign photo shoots go to