'Where Love is Illegal' Instagram account documents same-sex marriage in a bold way

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'Where Love is Illegal' Instagram account documents same-sex marriage in a bold way
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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
"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."
“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.
“You think you are man! I’m going to make you pregnant and I’m going to kill you”. Milli describes being strangled with a piece of wire until she lost consciousness “and then he did what he was doing, for hours!” Milli is a #lesbian woman from #SouthAfrica. Her attacker was eventually caught but only after a concerted campaign by Free Gender, a black South African lesbian organization working to end #homophobia. Read Milli’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. #loveislove #instapride Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival.
"At first they threatened to cut my head off... they would place the knife on my neck and say to me - are you ready to die?” ‘M’ (name withheld) was a medical professional in #Syria. He was kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra, a branch of al-Queda, because he is #gay. He was released after his family paid a ransom. Later, when #ISIS took over the area, they came looking for him, claiming that under their law, he must be killed because of his #sexuality. ‘M’ escaped to Lebanon, where he is awaiting resettlement. ‘M’ shared his story as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival. Go to the link in our profile to read his testimony and see how to share your own story. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival. #loveislove #iamwhoiam #instapride
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
“We are a lesbian married couple though not recognized because in #Uganda society lesbianism as an abnormality, an outcast, a disease that needs to be cured.” Read ‘J’ and ‘Q’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 what we're doing to make life better for people like J and Q. #lesbian #gay #bisexual #transgender #survival #loveislove Photo by @hammond_robin This is a @witness_change Follow @whereloveisillegal to see more stories of survival. #instapride
‘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
"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
"I touched death with my hands, I breathed it, I suffered all kinds of tortures and rejections. Other prisoners tried more than once to stab me in my sleep. The day I was tried in court... I nearly died of shame, all the court was after me, I never suffered as much in my life than as that time... I had to hang out one evening with a childhood friend to loose everything, my work, my rent and everything I put in it, my family, my friends. My greatest suffering is to be born gay because I'm the one who embodies the devil in my native Cameroon.” Wandji was convicted of ‘Practicing Homosexuality’ and sentenced to six months in prison. #Cameroon convicts more people than any other country on the continent for #homosexual ‘offences'. Read Wandji’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.
“At school, the teacher asked me if I was a boy or a girl. I didn’t know what to say. The neighbours were talking about me, everybody was talking about me. I was not happy, I was feeling sad all the time. But I had my beloved sister who told me that I shouldn’t worry and be proud about who I am.” Naze Flavier is from #Burundi. She fled to #SouthAfrica seeking safety and acceptance of who she is: a #transgender woman. Instead she ended up homeless and the victim of rape. She is being assisted by PASSOP, an organization that helps refugees and immigrants in South Africa. You can read Naze's story as part of 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 help us support PASSOP. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories of survival. #loveislove #iamwhoiam
“I left Iraq because no one accepted me as gay… I used to go to the bathroom and cry. I was a rejected person – I was like a white robe amongst millions of black robes.” Khalid feared for his life. Not only were the number of attacks on #gay men in Baghdad increasing, two of his gay friends were murdered, one in Khalid's own apartment while he was at work. Khalid came home to find out his friend been decapitated in the apartment. Khalid's own family threatened him as well. With no where to go and no one to turn to, Khalid fled #Iraq in early 2015. He has applied for #refugee status in #Lebanon and is hoping for resettlement in a third country. Read Khalid’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. #loveislove #iamwhoiam
"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 link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #iamwhoiam #loveislove #trans @lavernecox #lavernecox @caitlynjenner #caitlynjenner #TransIsBeautiful #cameroon See more stories of survival by following @whereloveisillegal.
“In the year 2009 I got married to Steven, and it was the first gay marriage in my country. Then it was not allowed for gay people to get married in my country. In December 2009 I was arrested along with Steven. It was a very painful experience because it was my first time to be in prison.” Steven Monjeza Soko and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were arrested in their home country of #Malawi and in 2010 they were both charged with buggery and permitting buggery. They were convicted and sentenced to the maximum penalty of fourteen years. According to the sentencing magistrate, the severity of the sentence was justified to protect Malawian society: “I will give you a scaring sentence so that the public be protected from people like you, so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example.” This judgement took place in spite of Malawi’s own constitution and it being a signatory state to a number of human rights treaties. Consequently, the case attracted an international outcry and both were later pardoned on condition that they do not have any future contact with each other. Following release, fearing attack, Tiwonge fled to South Africa. Read Tiwonge's story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. this is @witness_change project. #iamwhoiam #loveislove #gay Follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories.
“You said that if I was your brother you would have executed me already. My sister started crying because of what you said. When she left, you flogged me 25 times with a horse whip… I will never forgive you for what you have done to me in prison.” Gabriel (not his real name) is a young #gay man from northern #Nigeria. He was taken from his home, arrested, held in prison for 40 days, and sentenced to lashes with a horse whip. The sentence was, by some, considered mild. Under Sharia law he could have been executed for consensual same sex activity. Since Nigeria’s former president signed a harsh law criminalizing #homosexuality throughout the country, arrests of gay people have multiplied. Read Gabriel's story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. Please follow @WhereLoveIsIllegal to see more stories. #LGBT #iamwhoiam #loveislove
“My society is ruled by religions which strongly refuse my sexuality so I lived wearing the mask of a straight man.” Sally is a #transgender woman from #Syria. Read her story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #iamwhoiam #loveislove #trans @lavernecox #lavernecox @caitlynjenner #caitlynjenner #TransIsBeautiful
@WhereLoveIsIllegal “My father asked me to leave his home if I don’t want to be killed.” Bad Black is a #transgender woman from #Uganda. Read her story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #iamwhoiam #loveislove #trans @lavernecox @caitlynjenner #caitlynjenner #transisbeautiful
@WhereLoveIsIllegal “In spite of all this we are here, and we have a wonderful family and we are blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who love us and accept us as we are”. #Trans man Mitch, with his partner of 17 years Lalita, and their adopted children in #Malaysia. Read his story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #iamwhoiam #loveislove #transgender @lavernecox #lavernecox @caitlynjenner #caitlynjenner
@WhereLoveIsIllegal “I’m afraid every night. I don’t know if there is someone out there waiting for me.” Lindeka is a #lesbian woman from #SouthAfrica. She is a #survivor of three violent #homophobic attacks. Read her story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #iamwhoiam #loveislove
@WhereLoveIsIllegal "I'm lonely, homeless, in fear why because I decided to be who I am. Well who I am? I am Abinaya Jayaraman Transwomen, my gender is my identity and why i'm punished." Abinaya is a #transgender woman from #Malaysia. Read her story shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of survival in the link in our profile. Photo by @hammond_robin This is a @witness_change project #iamwhoiam #loveislove #trans @lavernecox #lavernecox @caitlynjenner #caitlynjenner
@WhereLoveIsIllegal “It is difficult to move on and continue with life after losing Ntsikie because she was a child who made me very happy.” Boniwe poses with a photo of her daughter Nontsikelelo at home in #SouthAfrica. Her daughter's decomposed body was found in a neighbor's dustbin a year after she went missing. She had been raped, beaten on the head, and strangled to death. The killer, the neighbor whose dustbin in which her body was found, said he did it to change her – she was a #lesbian. Read Boniwe's testimony shared as part of the #WhereLoveIsIllegal campaign, a platform for #LGBT stories of persecution and survival, at the link in our profile. Photo by @Hammond_Robin. This is a @witness_change project. #loveislove
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This year, same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships have been in the news more than ever.

While strides have been made to improve the lives of people in the LGBT community, many countries still reject and look down upon same-sex relationships.



The @WhereLoveIsIllegal Instagram account shows the reality of that condemnation in a very honest and raw way, documenting "stories of survival from around the world" and using the hashtag #WhereLoveIsIllegal.

Billions of LGBT people across the world are still fighting for basic human rights. See the video below for a glimpse into the issues that the LGBT community still faces on a global scale:
Global LGBT Community Still Gripped By Homophobic State-Sponsored Violence

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