"She [aunt] had made me stay in a chicken hut for three years... her friend told me that its because of the way I behave like a girl that I might rape her kids. It hurt me so much and I stopped asking many questions to myself whether am really like other kids.” Raymond is a #transgender woman from #Uganda. She has been targeted throughout her life because of who she is. “Things worsened when my face appeared in newspaper on the front page. I started receiving phone calls threatening me from different corners that they are going to kill me and my land lord threw me out that he doesn’t entertain gay people.” #transweek
Today we recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance. We stand together for the equal rights and treatment of all people, and we encourage you to join us in our efforts toward a more accepting world.
Raymond shared her story with the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival. Photo by @Hammond_Robin / @noorimages. This is a @witness_change project. For more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal#transweek
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"I identify as a queer man of transgender experience and I specifically say a queer man of transgender experience and not a transman because we are very sexist in our society and we feel that by virtue of being trans we are less than a man or less than a woman than a cisgender individual I don’t always want to have the label of transgender attached because then it becomes kind of very scientific and its very fetishized- its uncomfortable and annoying and demeaning so I’m a man just like any other and I don’t want to be treated differently because I’m trans and I especially hate when you try to point out my biological sex and try to refute my claim to manhood you do not get to choose who is a man and who isn’t" F.J. (@to_gentleman) is a man of transgender experience from Jamaica. Go to the @whereloveisillegal website: www.whereloveisillegal.com to read FJ’s story and see other #LGBT stories of survival.
This week is Transgender Awareness Week, which helps raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and addresses the issues the community faces. #transweek
“You refuse to accept me because what other people think is more important to you than the child you gave birth to and raised. Who are these people anyway? Are you not supposed to love me unconditionally?” Part of a letter written by Dorian, a trans man from #Malaysia, to his mother. Go to the @whereloveisillegal website: www.whereloveisillegal.com to read the rest of Dorian's letter and see other #LGBT stories of survival.
Starting 14 November, Transgender Awareness Week helps raise the visibility of #transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. #transweek
On Friday November 18th, #WhereLoveIsIllegal creator Robin Hammond will be speaking about the campaign as part of @FotoWeekDC in partnership with @natgeo. -
Dorian shared his story with the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBTQ stories of survival. This is a @witness_change project. For more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal
Photo @Hammond_Robin / @Noorimages / @witness_change
Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay
Worldwide, one in four people will live with a mental health problem in his or her lifetime.
Mental and behavioral problems reduce lifespan by as much as 20 years.
In some countries, 98% of people living with mental health problems receive no treatment.
Mental and behavioral problems reduce lifespan by as much as 20 years.
Native Doctor Lekwe Deezia claims to heal mental illness through the power of prayer and traditional herbal medicines. While receiving treatment, which can sometimes take months, his patients are chained to trees in his courtyard. They are not given shelter or protection from the elements. They are terrified of the doctor. Away from the doctor the patients beg the photographer for food. They say they are only fed once a day, sometimes only once every 3 days. One cries and says how cold he gets and that he is attacked by mosquitoes every night. His body is covered in bites. He says they are sometimes beaten for no reason and if a piece of fruit falls from the tree and they try to eat it they are beaten. In regions where both fortune and sickness are attributed to the spirit world, mental illness is often considered a curse. Spiritual remedies are often sought, and chains regularly used as restraints. The Niger Delta, Nigeria.
To see more follow @Hammond_Robin and @witness_change
THIS IS WHO I AM: While Jamaica remains one of the 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal and homophobic and transphobic attitudes are largely entrenched, grassroots organizations & brave activists are daily fighting discrimination and shaping a more equal society.
On this #ValentinesDay, while we celebrate #love all over the world, lets spare a thought for those who live in places #WhereLoveIsIllegal
“The day they arrested us, we felt humiliated… We were mistreated, insulted, accused of being sorcerers and we were sentenced to 5-years of prison.” In the first week of their arrest, Cameroonian #transgender women Dolores (right) 24 and Naomi (left) 25 were beaten everyday by police. After three months awaiting trial in provisional detention they were found “guilty of homosexuality” and sentenced to the maximum punishment. #HumanRights lawyer Alice Nkom appealed the conviction and won. The case was dropped due to lack of evidence, Dolores and Naomi were acquitted. By that time they had spent 18 months in prison.
Dolores and Naomi shared their story as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival. Their full testimony can be read at the at the link in the @whereloveisillegal instagram profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #loveislove#trans@lavernecox@caitlynjenner#TransIsBeautiful#cameroon
See more stories of survival by following @whereloveisillegal
Photo by @hammond_robin. "here's these bitches trying to steal our girls" the men yelled before they attacked Ntombozuko. Twice she has survived homophobic attacks; the second time she was stabbed. “That was the worst day of my life even now I’m not filling safe when I walk in the street." She says the love of her partner, Olwetu, has helped her to recover from the pain. They have been together 8 months and hope to marry.
“Maybe, just maybe, we can create a future world where no one needs to cover their face, change their name, hide who they are. A future world where everyone's story matters. A future world in which love is never illegal.”
Watch the full video at the link in @WhereLoveIsIllegal's profile and follow for more stories of discrimination and survival. Where Love Is Illegal is a Witness Change project.
Photo @Hammond_Robin. 26 year old Abdi Rahman Shukri Ali lives with a mental health problem. His family, with few alternatives, have kept him locked a tin shack for two years. They stay in Dadaab in Eastern Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp, where Somalis fleeing conflict and famine have sought safety. See how www.WitnessChange.org is working to expose human rights issues by following @witness_change
Photo by @hammond_robin. “I told the policeman what happened. He asked me: ‘Are you a woman?’ I told him: ‘Yes I am.’ He didn’t take my statement. Instead he went to other police and I heard him laughing. The other police also came to ask me what had happened. I later found out they were making fun of me. I went home, wearing one shoe, and feeling very devastated. I never believed that the institutions I trusted could do this to me. I arrived at home and went straight to bed without a statement being taken.” Funeka Soldaat is a lesbian woman from South Africa and the head of Free Gender, a black lesbian organization working to end homophobia. She is a rape survivor, her attacker was never caught.
This 14 year old boy in northern Uganda has been tied up for six years. In many parts of the world the default treatments for mental health problems are incarceration or the use of restraints such as chains or ropes. See how www.WitnessChange.org is working to expose human rights issues by following @witness_change
Photo by @hammond_Robin. Many Somalis will take relatives living with mental health problems to traditional or Khoranic healers for treatment as can be seen in this picture from Mogadishu, Somalia. The World Health Organisation says 1 in 3 Somalis live with a mental health problem. From the camps for Internally Displaced People dotted around the region to the bombed out streets of Mogadishu is a generation of Somalis who’ve lived with war, famine, displacement, and loss. See how www.WitnessChange.org is working to expose human rights issues by following @witness_change
Photo by @hammond_Robin. Men and women living with mental health problems are shackled and locked away in Juba Central Prison for years on end. The new nation of South Sudan faces a tremendous challenge to build a modern country capable of caring for all of its citizens. See how www.WitnessChange.org is working to expose human rights issues by following @witness_change
#FlashSale! Help us continue sharing stories of survival! For a limited time, portraits are available from 6 people who shared their story with @whereloveisillegal Tiwonge, J&Q, Imran, D&O, Khalid and Nisha all told their story to fight against bigotry and to stand up for equality. Through December 15, you can join that fight by ordering a signed, 5x7 print for $80 to support the continued work of @witness_change Visit the link in our profile to find out more and order your print! #whereloveisillegal
Photo by @Hammond_Robin. "the only way to save my job was to compromise my conscience.” Olga is from #Russia and #bisexual. She was forced from her teaching job because she wrote on a social media site about her support for LGBT rights. “I had a conversation with the director of the school, during which it was made clear to me that I must accept her conditions: disappear from all LGBT groups; stop putting any similar information on my wall; and not participate in discussions on the subject… That is to say, ‘make a choice, what is more important to you – being a teacher, or your activist views.’” Read Olga’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, wlii.co/olga/. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience of #discrimination and #survival. At the link you'll also find out how you can support Where Love is Illegal and our partner organizations. #loveislove
Photo by @Hammond_Robin. “They judged it was time to take the next step which was to burn me alive in big trucks wheels that were in this intersection, no sooner said than done, that's when I found myself in these wheels naked, they removed the fuel from a motorcycle and poured it on me.” Yves Serges is a gay man from Cameroon. He was taken from his home by a group of men who physically and sexually abused him. They wanted to burn him alive. Fortunately he was saved.
Read Yves’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
"Photo by @Hammond_Robin. “I spent almost one month in prison with not enough food, no taking bath, not even seeing sunlight.” Ishmel is a young #gay man from #Nigeria. He was arrested and charged with ""committing gay acts"". Thanks to the intervention of Hope Alive Initiative, a grassroots LGBT non-governmental organization, his case was dismissed. Ishmel was beaten and tortured but the greatest blow came when, on his release, he was ostracised by his family: “I need my parents to give me back the love they showed to me when I was a small boy because I can’t live without them, but the condition that I found myself in make me to live without them, so I need their love back.” In 2014 Nigeria's former president signed a harsh law criminalizing homosexuality throughout the country. Since passing the law, arrests of gay people have multiplied and some activists have been forced to go underground. Read Ishmel’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 Hope Alive Initiative and other grassroots LGBT groups. #loveislove#instapride Photo by @hammond_robin. This is a @witness_change project. For more stories of survival follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal
“I'm a satirist. I'm an entertainer. And yes I'm a drag queen. Quite a public one in fact.” Shelah! (@edwinshelah) is an outspoken #dragqueen from #Malaysia. She was a radio presenter for BFM before The Censorship Commission silenced her program. “They still haven’t told me why I was taken off the air.” That has not stopped her from speaking out though. During the day she is Edwin, a committee member with @SeksualitiMerdeka, a Malaysian LGBT collective, which has been targeted as well. "They feel like LGBT people are a challenge to the Malay identity… We are not fighting for LGBT issues, we’re fighting for basic human rights – the right to be!” Read Shelah's story, shared with Where Love is Illegal.
“I have been tortured several times by homophobic people and police officers by tying me with ropes and being beaten... I can’t forget when I was raped in the police cell by prisoners." Kamarah Apollo is a #gay man and LGBT rights campaigner from #Uganda. Being an activist made him a target. “I also appeared in local newspapers as a promoter of homosexuals so right now it’s hard for me to get a safe place to rent yet I am not working. I was fired from work because I am gay.” Apollo shared his testimony for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival. You can read his full story by clicking the link in the @whereloveisillegal profile. There you'll also see how to share your own experience of #discrimination and #survival and how you can support. #loveislove
"God made no gay but if a man accepts himself as gay he is a devil" the priest told Brice before he prayed over him to "cure" him of his "disease." To the distress of his mother, the prayers did not change Brice. “You have to choose – either change or leave!” His mother demanded. Brice didn’t consider this a choice he could make. He always knew he was Gay. “Since you have chosen to be gay, never contact me again!” Brice has not spoken to his mother since.
Read Brice’s story shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in the @WhereLoveIsIllegal account 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
Photo by @Hammond_Robin “The crime was that I am homosexual, and the punishment was forty days in jail losing my job, and losing my partner.” Attacked, beaten, tortured. Wolfheart recounts his experience with the legal system in Beirut, #Lebanon.
We launched @whereloveisillegal on June 4, 2015, and today, three months later, we just hit 100,000 followers. We have been blown away by your support, including the donations to free the Nigerian men jailed for being gay. With your help, we are raising the voices of those once silenced by hate. You have shown that change is possible. Thank you for being part of #whereloveisillegal. Please stay tuned for much more to come.
“You need to be raped to rid of your stupidity of liking a fellow girl!” These are the type of insults 'J' & 'Q' say they must endure. “We are a lesbian married couple though not recognized because in Uganda society lesbianism is an abnormality, an outcast, a disease that needs to be cured.” Read J & Q's full testimony shared with the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in the @WhereLoveIsIllegal account profile. At the link you can also see how to share your own experience of #discrimination and #survival and how you can support. #iamwhoiam#loveislove
Please, URGENTLY, go to the link in the profile and give what you can to help these four young men.
For 19 days, at the time of this posting, four young men have been in jail awaiting trial, charged with the 'crime' of sodomy. They face 14 years in prison if convicted. Two of them are ill, and none can afford bail.
We are raising funds to: - get them out of jail (to post bail): $265 each - secure legal representation: $100 each - house them while they await trial: $110 each - relocate them in the future: $26 each
@witness_change and @whereloveisillegal are working with Hope Alive Initiative, a grassroots LGBT organization in northern Nigeria. They desperately need our help. To fund Hope Alive Initiative's entire budget for one year, they need only $25,000. If each of you donated just a little, we could fund Hope Alive Initiative for a full year within minutes.
“We are killed, really, and our lives and souls maimed… And the police will not help you, just like me, they just kicked me out, humiliated me, cut my statement as soon as they heard those treasured words – 'I am a lesbian.'“ Darya is a young woman from #Russia. She identifies as bi-gender. In 2011, after coming out, she was followed as she walked home by a group of masked men, they shouted #homophobic slurs while beating her with baseball bats. After she was knocked unconscious, she was stabbed. She very nearly died. She went into hiding until one day, as she told Where Love Is Illegal: “I understood that these people had achieved what they wanted - they made me, an LGBT activist, silent. They completely broke me. And then I realized: I wouldn’t allow them to succeed.” Read Darya’s testimony shared for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link on the @WhereLoveIsIllegal account 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 This is a @witness_change project. Photo by @Hammond_Robin
“Police found us naked and threw 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. Simon fled to the capital, Kampala, where he now lives. He is unemployed and has not seen his boyfriend since the attack.
“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.
“They put a black cloth bag 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.
Gad shared his story for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival. To read his testimony go to @WhereLoveIsIllegal and follow the link in our profile. You can also see how to share your own experience and how you can support. #survival#loveislove#instapride This is a @witness_change project. Photo by @Hammond_Robin.
Photo by @Hammond_Robin. 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. He shared his story for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival. Go to @WhereLoveIsIllegal and follow the link in our profile to read his story. You can also see how to share your own experience, and find out what you can do to make life better for people like Imran. #loveislove#iamwhoiam#instapride
"Despite the blatant homophobia and discrimination on the part of the Russian government, us, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, have no need to hide, have no need to be afraid, but on the contrary - we need to face the future, if so, it can't be anything other than bright and cheery. Everything is in our hands.”
Grisha is a #gay man and #LGBT activist from #Russia. He lost his job as a teacher because of his #activism and his #sexuality. He now works as a #dragqueen.
Grisha shared his story for the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for LGBT stories of survival. Go to @WhereLoveIsIllegal and follow the link in our profile to read Grisha's story. You can also see how to share your own experience, and you can find out how to support LGBT groups working in countries where the community is the target of discrimination.
Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project.
Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival.
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