LIFESTYLE

Stunning Portraits Of LGBT People Show Where Love Is Illegal All Over The World

30/07/2015 12:47 BST | Updated 03/12/2015 09:59 GMT
Robin Hammond/WitnessChange.org

Photographer Robin Hammond has created a stunning photo series exploring what it's like to be LGBT in the places where loving someone of the same sex is illegal.

Portraits from the 'Where Love Is Illegal' project span seven different countries, and explore the intolerance, abuse and hatred that many LGBT people are subjected to.

Hammond told National Geographic: “My projects often come from an experience or a view of an injustice, something that makes me angry. It became vital to me to tell these stories—the ones that had not yet been told."

“They used their hands, their feet, cables, sticks – from 11 to 6 in the morning. I was bruised all over my body. I was always trying to hide my genitals and face… They were wearing heavy army boots so you must cover your face. They didn’t ask me anything. They beat me because I am gay.” Ratib, a #gay man from #Syria, describes the torture he endured after being arrested by the police when they saw him with his boyfriend in a park. Read Ratib’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. For more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

He added: "I travel extensively and often come across views I don’t hold, and I have to do my best to put myself in the shoes of others. But I found statements from intelligent people who I liked very hard to stomach."

The photos speak for themselves, but the stories provide a powerful narrative into the persecution that LGBT people still face on a day-to-day basis all over the world.

“Then he said he is going to show me that I am a girl, he pulled out a gun and told me to strip off my clothes.” Amanda (not her real name) is a #lesbian woman from #SouthAfrica. She has survived three #homophobic attacks, including rape. She lives in fear of men and people who persecute her because of her #sexuality: “People say it is wrong to date the same sex, but to God, we are all his people, and I truly know that Jesus loves me.” Read Amanda’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience of #discrimination and #survival and how you can support. #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. For more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

“my older brother came to my house. He showed me a gun and said ‘you destroyed the honor of our family, be prepared to die’.” Fearing for his life, Khalaf, a #gay man from Jordan, fled to #Lebanon. He has lost everything, but talking about coming out as gay to his family, he says he has no regrets: “I lost my family, friends and country, but I gained myself, and I felt the real life for the first time.” Read Khalaf’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. To see more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

“People come up with a lot of stories, they say we are given money to recruit people into homosexuality. It’s very dangerous. The world we sit with, we Kuchus, can be hurt, they beat you, attack you, rape you… But even with all this I have lived to be recognized as a leader, rugby player and a feminist who will continue to fight until all of us are see equal.” Biggie is an #LGBT #activist and “Woman who loves women” from #Uganda. Read Biggie’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival.

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

“Police found us all naked and threw all of us out thus handcuffing us. Immediately the mob started beating us with stones and sticks with nails saying that we were curses and needed to be killed.” The police locked Simon, a young #gay man from #Uganda, and his boyfriend in the station cells where they were beaten again by the inmates. The next morning, bruised and bloody, they were taken to hospital. That night, a doctor took pity on them and allowed them to escape. He fled to the capital, Kampala, where he now lives. He is unemployed and has not seen his boyfriend since the attack. Read Simon’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. For more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

“This is the tradition. I know he will keep trying and if he doesn’t do it with his own hand one of the family members will… but I was born this way and I will die this way!” Jessie is a young #transgender woman living in a Palestinian refugee camp in #Lebanon. Because of her gender identity, her brother and father have tried to kill her several times. Read Jessie’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #iamwhoiam #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival. #caitlynjenner @caitlynjenner #lavernecox @lavernecox #transisbeautiful

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

"I don’t want to describe what I felt that evening and how much I was scared, because I don’t want to remember these attacks over and over again, it’s very painfully… Now as I am writing this, I’m hold back the tears because of the shame, because it seems like it's forever, so it will be again and again. And the anger is so much. I’m sick of always being the victim." Ruslan is a young #gay man from #Russia and a survivor of multiple homophobic attacks. Read Ruslan's story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival."

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

“They put a black cloth bags over my head. They continued to punch and kick me. I would never know where it was coming from. They were doing the same to the others… We could hear each other being tortured. I look normal to others but… Silence lives inside me in the darkness of fear and a despotic desperation…which settled in the hidden parts of the soul.” Gad, a #gay man from #Syria, was arrested with 26 others in a bath house in #Lebanon. They were tortured and imprisoned for 28 days while they awaited trial for “Homosexuality” which under article 534 of the Lebanese Penal code prohibits sexual relations that "contradict the laws of nature" and is punishable by up to a year in prison. Read Gad’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival.

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

Imran writes about the day his mother disowned him: "She walked away and left me on my knees begging for her at least listen to what I have to say… I left school while being mocked, laughed at, on that day hated myself to the extreme I felt I wasn’t worthy living, where was I to start from? How when the only person I trusted in the world turned her back on me? And this was the beginning of my suffering.” Imran (on the right, photographed with his partner) is a young #gay man from #Uganda. Read Imran’s testimony shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own story and what we're doing to make life better for people like Imran and his partner. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @whereloveisillegal to see more stories of survival. #loveislove #iamwhoiam #instapride

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

‘B’, a #gay man from #Kenya, met David on a beach in the coastal city of Mombasa, “It was first sight love”. They planned to marry, but at the wedding party, they were attacked by a #homophobic mob. David was stabbed in the chest, although he survived. ‘B’ continued to receive threats and was encouraged to flee to #SouthAfrica. Life was very hard there though. He was mugged and threatened because of his #sexuality and because he was a foreigner. Unable to work, he became desperately poor. A few months later, ‘B’ learned that David had died in a car accident. From the tiny tin shack in which he lived, B told us he often dreamed about David and the life he hoped they would have had together. Three months after this photo was taken, ‘B’ fell ill, and suddenly died. His friends asked that we keep his story alive by sharing it. 'B’ told his story for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of persecution and survival. Please read his testimony, in his own words, at the link in our profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own story. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow us @WhereLoveIsIllegal #loveislove #iamwhoiam #instapride

A photo posted by @whereloveisillegal on

To read the full stories, and see more photographs from the series, visit whereloveisillegal.com. You can donate through the Fund For Global Human Rights.

Gay Rights Movement Through The Years