Almost 1.8 billion people live in countries where identifying as lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex could lead to imprisonment, corporal punishment or even death. 72 nations around the world have criminal laws against sexual activity by LGBTQI+ people.
That’s 72 countries where non-conforming individuals who love each other must do so in secret.
Photographer Robin Hammond travelled to over a dozen countries as a part of his Where Love is Illegal campaign to document and collaborate with individuals facing relentless discrimination.
Hammond who curated Where Love Is Illegal currently on display at The Bronx Documentary Center told The New Yorker that many of the people who share their images and stories come from countries where sexual activity between L.G.B.T.I. people is criminalized; others have been the targets of hate in places where homosexual contact is legal. Some participants send selfies. Some post no pictures at all. Some present photographs of loved ones they’ve lost.
Hammond underscores his impetus in a photograph from Cameroon, where a woman named Alice is holding a picture of her younger brother Eric, who was tortured and killed in 2013, for speaking out against L.G.B.T.I. discrimination. After his death, the family continued receiving threats. One text message read, “You will die like your fag brother.”
Hammond said in a statement: “Bigotry thrives in environments where those discriminated against are denied the right to speak out against the injustices they face. While the laws of each country vary — from intent to commit an obscene act or the right to free expression of sexuality and gender identity — the brutality of each punishment is shocking.”