A posed portrait of Jean Yannick (not his real name), 38, from Gabon.  “I left Gabon because I was attacked earlier this year by four guys”. Jean Yannick was stopped while driving on his way home. Four men forced him to take them to his house where, in front of his French partner, they gang raped him. The next day Jean Yannick went to the police to report the rape. “We can’t help someone like you because our culture doesn’t have gay people, and if those people come to kill you, we can’t do anything. If you want to be gay you should leave the country.” The police chief told Jean Yannick to sit down. The Chief then took a pair of scissors and cut his shoulder length hair short. He was then taken to the police cells and kept there for 13 days. He was released with no case opened against his attackers. Jean Yannick and his partner went to the French embassy and asked that he be given a visa to enter France. The embassy staff said they would not give him refugee status based on persecution of his sexuality. Jean Yannick’s partner encouraged him to go to South Africa as he didn’t need a visa to enter the country and he perceived it as safe for LGBT people. They made a plan to meet in South Africa later, where they would get married, and then travel to France to live their lives there. South Africa. November 2014.  While many countries around the world are legally recognizing same-sex relationships, individuals in nearly 80 countries face criminal sanctions for private consensual relations with another adult of the same sex. Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender expression is even more widespread. Africa is becoming the worst continent for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Inter-sex (LGBTQI) individuals. More than two thirds of African countries have laws criminalizing consensual same-sex acts. In some, homosexuality is punishable by death. In Nigeria new homophobic laws introduced in 2013 led to dramatic increase in

Jean Yannick/

“I have been raped and held by a group of 4 young people who have expressed their homophobia directly. Indeed, the pill is still hard to swallow and the story is still hard to tell, but despite this I still stand up. I am me and I will stay me.”