While in some parts of the world the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people are gaining recognition, in other parts of the world people are increasingly persecuted for their sexual orientation and gender identity.
We believe change is possible.
WITNESS CHANGE BELIEVES THAT PERSECUTION BASED ON SEXUALITY OR GENDER IDENTITY MUST END.
same sex acts are ILLEGAL
same sex acts are
punishable by DEATH
of American LGBTQ+ youth
feel UNSAFE AT SCHOOL
source ILGA, GLSEN 2013
What we’re doing about it:
Witness Change created Where Love Is Illegal to document LGBTQ+ stories of discrimination and survival from around the world. At the heart of the work is a belief that discrimination thrives where the voices of those persecuted are silenced. Where Love Is Illegal was created to make sure these survivors are seen and their voices heard.
Witness Change photographer Robin Hammond collaborated with 65 survivors of persecution of 15 different nationalities to create a series of portraits. The goal was to tell each person’s story as that person wanted to share it.
Many hid their faces to protect their identity, and all were given veto over images they felt compromised their safety: in many of the places where these photographs were taken, to be openly LGBTQ+ is to risk your life.
As well as posing for photographs, each subject recorded a written testimony of the discrimination they faced. The telling of these stories are acts of courage and defiance against homophobic attitudes that have denied LGBTQ+ people the right to express their words, their feelings, and of course, their identities.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: TELLING STORIES GLOBALLY
In order for Where Love Is Illegal to be a truly global campaign, we are continuing to tell stories where LGBTIQ+ discrimination persists.
You can donate to help us continue telling stories.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT:
The photographs taken by Robin Hammond are only the beginning of a much bigger aim to have the voices of those discriminated against heard. Where Love Is Illegal is also a social media space where LGBTQ+ people around the world are sharing their own stories of survival. See the social media platform we’ve created.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: EXHIBITIONS
Exhibitions are being planned around the world. Grassroots LGBTQ+ organizations have been particularly interested in making sure these images are seen and that the voices of these survivors are heard. They need help though.
Can you organize or support an exhibition? Let us know.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT:
RAISING VOICES LOCALLY
We believe LGBTQ+ stories should come from the community and not just be about them. In order to achieve this Where Love Is Illegal is running workshops in countries where LGBTQ+ discrimination exists in order to train community members in storytelling. The workshops will culminate in a relevant and effective action that endeavors to use the storytelling to effect change locally.
Your donation can help support workshops.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: PUBLIC AWARENESS
To engage a wide and powerful audience, we worked with Time Magazine and other publications around the world. We believe that raising awareness of the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals is necessary to end discrimination and persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status.