Seeking home: The lives of gay and transgender asylum seekers of the Middle East

The Washington Post
Nicole Crowder
Original Article:

Beginning in Damascus, Syria, in 2010, photojournalist Bradley Secker began to document the lives of gay Iraqi refugees that had fled Iraq to escape homophobic violence. Shortly after chronicling their stories, Secker crossed borders and traveled to Turkey, following Iranians, Turkish Kurds, Syrians and more Iraqis who were claiming asylum abroad or fighting for their rights in their home country.

Hundreds of individuals from the Middle East apply for resettlement overseas every year because of increased discrimination against their sexuality or gender identity. They wait for their cases to be processed by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) so they can move to a third country. Iranian LGBT refugees in central Anatolia in Turkey wait an average of two years for their cases to be processed before being resettled in Europe or North America. Over time, Secker’s intimate portraits of the lives of 11 gay asylum seekers became the stunning body of work “Kütmaan,” taken from the Arabic word for hiding or concealing.

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