Where Love Is Illegal

My boys and I would sometimes talk about how it is in countries where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex are not only denounced, but in some cases, killed. You and I, we get the big picture all the time via the news. We don't, however, know their real stories. 

I saw this campaign {Where Love Is Illegal} a couple of days ago on National Geographic. They feature stories of discrimination, humiliation, contempt, and survival as told by those who have experienced it.

The campaign was started by National Geographic photographer Robin Hammond. What prompted him to do it was due to a sad story he heard back in 2004 in Nigeria. Five young men were arrested and flogged for being gay. Hammond went to see the said men, took photographs, and gathered information about their unfortunate experience.

He applied for the Getty Grant and was awarded $20,000 for this campaign. Due to the stories that he gathered, Where Love is Illegal has become more than just a way to raise awareness; it has become a tool to support various LGBT groups.

In this part of the world, homosexuals are still not wholly celebrated, but they are certainly not persecuted to that extent. Simon from Uganda, for example, was severely beaten by the people from his village and some more when he was imprisoned. 

Laser {Israel} was sent by his family to a gay cure center while DBS' {Uganda} mother has subjected her to "corrective rape" in hopes that she will become straight. And then there's Gad. He was charged with "homosexuality" under Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code. It is punishable by up to one year in prison. 

Filipinos are very clanish. That's one great thing I'm truly proud of. If you read the stories on the site, most of them are discriminated by their own families. To be wronged by others is bad enough, but to be maltreated by the people who are genetically programmed to love you is something else.

I have two boys. Sometimes, I get asked this question: "What are you going to do if one of your sons is gay?" You know, with all the logic that beset me, I never fully grasped what that question truly means. First of all, it's not a choice. Secondly, it is not a death sentence. And third, I don't and will never discriminate based on sexuality. I discriminate based on one's attitude.

I don't have a problem with one or both of my kids being gay. If one or both of them grow up to be assholes, then I have a problem. That means I failed.

I think this campaign is a great thing for both the victims of the unnecessary tormenting and for those who haven't fully accepted them yet. It is an outlet for the first one, and hopefully, a point of realization for the latter. 

You can share your own story here or help them out here.

Onward and Upward!


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