REALITY CHECK

Where Love Is Illegal: Powerful Queer Stories From Antigay Parts Of The World

A project called Where Love Is Illegal has captured our attention with heartbreaking accounts of LGBTQ survival from hostile communities around the world.

Each powerful photo is accompanied by a first-person account of the hurdles the subject has found the strength to overcome.

It’s a stark reminder of the day-to-day horrors queer people face.

The project’s website reads, “we’ve created this space for people to share stories of discrimination and survival. Read these stories, share them, and contribute your own. Let the world know that we will not be silent.”

Below are some of the stories they’ve posted on Instagram. To see more, and find out how to donate, head here.

“I prefer boys, but there something else..when I look in the mirror I don’t like how I look…” says Nurlan (@nur.lan.d) from St. Petersburg, #Russia. “Of course others ‘normal’ people bullying me in my everyday life. I live in fear. I can’t be myself in My family, I fear and hate my father…but I try to live, we have only one life…” Nurlan’s story was shared with #whereloveisillegal, an online platform for sharing #LGBT stories of discrimination and survival. Read his full story at the link in our profile, and share your own story there too. #instapride #shareyourstory #loveisilove #iamwhoiam @whereloveisillegal is a @witness_change project developed by @hammond_robin. To see more, please follow @whereloveisillegal.

A photo posted by Where Love Is Illegal (@whereloveisillegal) on

“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 Seksualiti Merdeka, 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. Read Shelah!’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 Where Love Is Illegal (@whereloveisillegal) on

“I have been raped and held by a group of 4 young people who have expressed their homophobia directly, without sparing me. Indeed, the pill is still hard to swallow and the story is still hard to tell but, despite this I still stand up.” Jean Yannick fled #Gabon to South Africa and eventually to France. “I am me and I will stay me. I am an activist and I will be one until I die.” Read his story shared with #WhereLoveIsIllegal, 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 Where Love Is Illegal (@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 Where Love Is Illegal (@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 Where Love Is Illegal (@whereloveisillegal) on

“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. You can read Grisha’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. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival. #shareyourstory #loveislove #iamwhoiam #instapride A photo posted by Where Love Is Illegal (@whereloveisillegal) on