A posed portrait of Sudi from Rwanda, who was born HIV positive, to a HIV positive mother. He hid being gay for 24 years, but after coming out, was forced to leave home and is now in Kakuma Refugee camp. “People used to point to me, I cannot fetch water. That why I come to hide here, myself, the best way that isn't people who doesn't know me, who doesn't know my status, who doesn't know that I'm LGBTI, who doesn't know that I'm infected by HIV. I live like someone who doesn't have a home. To be a refugee is something that make me first to be pain. We used to face a lot of issues in camp. Today I breathe, tomorrow I cannot breathe. That is the way we live.” Sudi is choosing to be open about his HIV status hoping to reduce the stigma others with HIV/AIDS feel. “I told those people who have hormones like me, to be open, who have infected of HIV, to be open. To have HIV doesn't mean that you can die. I live until now. I go to things, use your medicine, and don't think a lot.” Sudi believes that a community should support each other: “This is a message I pass to your friends: if you know your friend have a problem, don't run from him. You two are like that. Stay with him. Give him hope. All of the world is not in Kakuma only. Every place where there's LGBTI like us, help them.” Kenya, October 2017. 
The Kakuma Refugee Camp is located in north western Kenya and houses more than 180,000 refugees. The camp is located in a semi-arid desert with temperatures over 30C. LGBTQI+ refugees are a minority; approximately 190 total with 120 Ugandans, and are often targeted by the wider refugee community. The camp, run by the UNHCR, provides food and medical support, however rations meant for a month typically last just two weeks. Treatment facilities are located miles away, and transport is not provided, posing a challenge for those with HIV / AIDS requiring life-saving medication.
While in many places, there has been great progress in recent years in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTQI+) rights, including an increasing recognition of same-sex marriage, nearly 2.8 billion people live in countries where identifying as LGBTI is subject to rampant discrimination, criminalization, and even death. Same-sex acts are illegal in 76 countries; in some countries, this can result in being sentenced to death. Behind these statistics, there individuals with unique, often harrowing stories. Where Love Is Illegal was created to tell those stories. 
Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change.

Sudi/


“This is a message I pass to your friends: if you know your friend have a problem, don’t run from him. You two are like that. Stay with him. Give him hope. All of the world is not in Kakuma only. Every place where there’s LGBTI like us, help them.”

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