Where Love is Illegal
71 countries around the world have criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. That’s 71 countries where people who love each other must do so in secret. While the laws of each country vary - from the intent to commit an obscene act, or the right to freedom of expression of sexuality and gender identity – the brutality of punishments are shocking in all of these countries, and include fines, imprisonment, torture and, in some instances, death.
Sadly, discrimination and hatred is not limited to countries that outlaw love. Worldwide, violence and prejudice against the LGBTQI+ community is rampant, targeting those who simply wish to live openly as themselves.
Media outlets often tell us about laws, crimes and atrocities - but too often we don’t hear from the people themselves, the people who dare to love in places where their love is illegal.
Witness Change aims to change that.
Led by photographer Robin Hammond, Witness Change documented and captured the personal testimonies of the LGBTQI+ community around the world. Those who participated in this global storytelling campaign chose how they wanted to pose, what to wear and how to present themselves. They hand wrote their stories and letters to be shared with the world.
Use the arrows to slide through to see all the images.
Witness Change exists to improve life for marginalized groups by amplifying their stories. Their vision is to create inclusive societies with equal rights for all. Witness Change’s current projects include Where Love Is Illegal and In My World, a campaign which amplifies stories of people living with mental health conditions. www.witnesschange.org
Human rights photographer Robin Hammond is the winner of two World Press Photo prizes, the RF Kennedy Journalism Award, five Pictures of the Year International Awards, the W.Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the recipient of six Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism, and named by Foreign Policy as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers”. Robin Hammond has dedicated his career to amplifying narratives of marginalised groups through long term photographic projects. Robin is the founder of Witness Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing human rights through highly visual storytelling. Born in New Zealand, he has lived in Japan, South Africa, France and the United Kingdom. He is represented by Panos.
Alternatively, you can view his work in SEAS' June 2021 exhibition, 'News from Nowhere'.