72 countries around the world have criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. That’s 72 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.