Despite gains made in many parts of the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people are, in some regions, increasingly persecuted and denied basic human rights. Because bigotry thrives where we are silenced by fear, we've created this space for people to share stories of discrimination and survival. Read these stories, share them, and contribute your own. Let the world know that we will not be silent.

68 year-old, Caucasian, gay man William Lynn Donaldson in Orlando. William was a teacher before he retired. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 22 March 2019

William Lynn Donaldson/


“Coming to terms with being gay as a child was pure hell.”

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24 year-old, homeless bi-sexual gender non-conforming, Royse at Trinity Place Shelter. Trinity Place Shelter is a non-sectarian, 10-bed transitional shelter that provides LGBTQ youth and young adults with a safe place to sleep, shower, eat and store belongings. Trinity Place Shelter provides a unique home and family-like environment where youth receive individualized care, respect, and the basic services so often denied them. Having such a space, staffed by professional social workers, supports our residents in gaining the skills and confidence needed to exit homelessness and begin to live into their dreams. In 2012 the Williams Institute estimated that of all homeless youth, 40% LGBTQI+. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness says the number is closer to 20%-40%. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 01 February 2019

Royse/


“The many attempts to socially and racially eradicate me and then liking men – They constantly told me I was a problem – and that it should have been straight.”

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69 year-old, black gay man Michael at home in Orlando, Florida. Michael is a youth educator. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 26 March 2019

Michael/


“My journey started with fear and others knowing my attraction was for boys, trying to change, trying to fit, ran away unable to accept who I was”

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Christian/


“As a child who was bullied in Hong Kong and later as an immigrant in the USA, my roots were immersed in experiences of homophobia and xenophobia.”

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76 year-old, Caucasian, gay man Bob Frew at his home in Orlando. Bob was widowed in January 2019 when he lost his partner of 30 years. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 19 March 2019

Bob Frew/


“Since I had already experimented and enjoyed teenage sexual excursions with other boys, I knew that she was talking to me, and that was enough to put me in the closet.”

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Lucas/


“Being gay and HIV positive in Kenya is hell on earth. You get rejected by fellow queer men and society.”

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66 year-old, white trans woman Joann Sullivan at home in Titusville, Florida. Joann is single, retired and lives alone. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 26 March 2019

Joann Sullivan/


“was placed in the psychiatric ward at Florida Hospital in Orlando. I couldn’t stop crying. All those feelings that I had bottled up for tens of years came rushing out all at once.”

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74 year-old, Anglo, bisexual woman Sharon Durrant (right) at home in Orlando with her wife 82 year-old, Anglo Saxon , bisexual woman Ellen Hone (left). Both were previously married to men. They attend First Unitarian Church. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 24 March 2019

Ellen Hone/


“Married 20 years to a male, I had a child and 2 grandsons, I had no idea I was bisexual until I was divorced.”

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74 year-old, Anglo, bisexual woman Sharon Durrant (right) at home in Orlando with her wife 82 year-old, Anglo Saxon , bisexual woman Ellen Hone (left). Both were previously married to men. They attend First Unitarian Church. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 24 March 2019

Sharon Durrant/


“The homophobic behaviors I have experienced in my life have been subtle and over, intentional and unintentional”

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22 year-old, Samurai Angel-Bello is homeless with a sexual orientation described as ÒwhateverÓ and a gender identity as Òall.Ó Samurai stays at Trinity Place Shelter. Trinity Place Shelter is a non-sectarian, 10-bed transitional shelter that provides LGBTQ youth and young adults with a safe place to sleep, shower, eat and store belongings. Trinity Place Shelter provides a unique home and family-like environment where youth receive individualized care, respect, and the basic services so often denied them. Having such a space, staffed by professional social workers, supports our residents in gaining the skills and confidence needed to exit homelessness and begin to live into their dreams. In 2012 the Williams Institute estimated that of all homeless youth, 40% LGBTQI+. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness says the number is closer to 20%-40%. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 31 January 2019

Samurai/


“I haven’t always been a man, and I haven’t always been a woman, but I have always been a pain in the ass.”

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21 year-old, African American, pansexual, trans man Elliot ÔNikoÕ LÕeaux with his 21 year-old girlfriend white, pansexual, trans woman, Peyton Michelle in New Orleans. Elliot is a columnist, activist, poet and Òvisionary.Ó Peyton is the Board Secretary of Louisiana Trans Advocates. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 15 March 2019

Elliot & Peyton/


“Growing up in rural Louisiana is unlike everything in the world – beauty beyond what I can describe. But the culture surrounding me was much different.”

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44 year-old, Black Jamaican, pansexual, transgender gender expansive person, Spirit McIntyre at home in New Orleans. Spirit is a musician, reiki practitioner and compassionate facilitator. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Myles Golden, mylessgolden@gmail.com, Phone +1 757 751 3135. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 07 March 2019

Spirit/


“The first time I bought ‘man shoes’ I was terrified to wear them, I think they’re the light blue bowling shoes I have; the first time someone asked me what my pronouns were, I think it might have been @ a BreakOUT! event.”

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20 year old homeless straight Jamaican-Columbian-American transgender woman Nyella Love in New Jersey. In 2012 the Williams Institute estimated that of all homeless youth, 40% LGBTQI+. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness says the number is closer to 20%-40%. Assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 12 February 2019

Nyella Love/


“At times the fight to be who I am now becoming was something that pushed me to the point of suicide. I thought that it was my only way out of the body I knew I didn’t belong in.”

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Nichalas Brown/


“My eldest brother was my father figure, and so he took the responsibility of SCOLDING me, time and time again.”

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Erwin/


“My name is Wambi Erukana.  I am 19 years from Uganda.  I am a the last born out of the 6 children in my family.  My late father was monogamous.  My  mom passed away as a result of Hypertension  8 years after I was born.  I was the raised by a single parent who later … READ THE STORY

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65 year-old, gay man, James Serrano at Brooklyn based GRIOT Circle, (@GRIOTcircle on Instagram) a community-based, multigenerational organization serving LGBTQ elders of color. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 04 February 2019

James Serrano/


“as a senior gay man not everything is sunshine, many clouds follow me around but thanks to the love and understanding of my parents, my family, and good friends I am able to survive attitudes and situations”

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Z Fila/


“I decided to forgive my parents for not accepting my sexualty. i forgive them, however, resent the christian faith because it robbed me of my parents.”

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79 year-old, European, gay man Adrian Le Peltier at home in Orlando. Adrian is an actor. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 22 March 2019

Adrian Le Peltier/


“My entire life I’ve felt WRONG! An outsider! I never related to the considered ‘NORM’.”

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Francheska/


“Despite all this I am smiling through the rain for I know there are so many LGBTQ young folks who look at me as their source of strength and inspiration.”

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Gwen/


“I’ve never had a sexual attraction to someone, and even though i’m sex positive, i’ve never been in a deep enough relationship to consider doing so.”

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Khalil/


“I remember now as it was only yesterday, how my father for years used to physically and psychologically abuse me just because of my appearance and thoughts.”

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85 year-old, Jewish lesbian woman Ruthie Berman at home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ruthie is a retired guidance counselor and widow. Alongside her wife Connie she challenged AmericaÕs laws and attitudes towards same sex relationships. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 29 March 2019

Ruthie/


“This is a statement that fits Connie and my personal and political activism though Connie became an activist.”

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30 year-old, transgender African American female Serenity Lopez Lord at her home in New Orleans. Serenity is a self employed performer. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Myles Golden, mylessgolden@gmail.com, Phone +1 757 751 3135. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 04 March 2019

Serenity/


“It was a struggle but as I grew older I had to stand my ground and let them l know I’m not changing this is me accept it or not.”

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72 year-old, African-American gay man Badili Jones-Goodhope in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Badili is a tour guide. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 28 March 2019

Badili Jones-Goodhope/


“Being who you are is not a choice. You have to choose to not let the indifference and rejection break you. You have to choose that in not being loved that you don’t stop holding space for love.”

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74 year-old, white, gay man Dennis Shelto at home in Orlando. Dennis is widowed. He used to be a clothing designer. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 23 March 2019

Dennis Shelto/


“A stranger grabbed me and put a knife to my throat. He said he hates faggots, thank goodness another group of men saw what was happening and got they guys off me.”

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22 year-old, black, queer, gender non conforming artist AB at Trinity Place Shelter in New York City. AB is homeless. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 05 April 2019

A.B./


“Promise yourself tonight you’ll never give up, and to never leave any stone unturned. You’ve always known your purpose, you’ve always known who you are.”

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Hannah/


“Pride is supposed to be liberating: love who you want. I wanted to love, period, but started to think that if I couldn’t do it in a sexual way, something was wrong with me.”

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23 year-old, black, bisexual, female of trans experience, Raven Carlyle. Raven is a Tarot Card Reader. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 17 March 2019

Raven/


“Oh my womanhood was forged in the fires of self acceptance, tempered by desire and brought up in a home of love, raised in fear”

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69 year-old, hispanic, lesbian woman Yvette Cortes at home in Orlando. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 25 March 2019

Yvette Cortes/


“I guess as a child I felt there was something wrong with me. I would have nightmares. I guess I was in hell or would go to hell because deep down I know I was gay.”

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Nael/


“I always felt that I’m different but at the same time felt i’m normal because that’s who i’m.”

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78 year-old, white gay man Gary ÒLeeÓ Lawson at home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lee is single, retired and a biker. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 29 March 2019

Gary “Lee” Lawson/


“Paul and I were friends and partners for about 7 years, we were both gay, motorcyclist and traveled around a lot. He traveled in his work & both of traveled together and separately. Chicago, Milwaukee, St Louis, Minneapolis , Indy, Nashville, KC, MO +++ In fall of 1983 he got pneumonia that turned out to … READ THE STORY

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24 year old pansexual African-American woman of trans-experience Sophia Lee in Queens, New York. Assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 06 February 2019

Sophia/


“Life is full of sacrifices and the unfortunate reality for many LGBT youth is that they have to sacrifice so many things just to live authentically. For me, I’ve had to sacrifice the love of my father.”

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Emma Alcedo/

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“When I lived in Venezuela I developed depression and anxiety since I was 16, of course due to many reasons, but mostly because I wasn’t able to accept myself as trans.”

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20 year-old, black/hispanic, bisexual man Peanut in New York City. Peanut (not his legal name) was born in The Bronx. He has been homeless since he was 17. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 03 April 2019

Peanut/


“So many people hated, dislike, talked about and made fun of me, I just thought oh this is it, nothing else today I guess”

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Nicky Bronkhorst/


“my gym teacher motivated the bullying in the gym classes telling me in front of everyone to not act like a ‘pussy’.”

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63 year-old, Welsh-Jew gay/bisexual Rich Burton Jr expresses his gender identity as Òsexual.Ó He sits with his 72 year old live in domestic partner, white, gay man Pedro Barrios at home in Miami, Florida. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 30 March 2019

Rich & Pedro/


“We have shared and cared for one another ever since in my vigor muscles bulging I gave my heart and soul to him eternally.”

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73 year-old, transgender queer women, and veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, Victoria Cruz. She sits in the lounge area of Brooklyn based GRIOT Circle, (@GRIOTcircle on Instagram) a community-based, multigenerational organization serving LGBTQ elders of color. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 04 February 2019

Victoria Cruz/


“My name is Victoria Cruz. Born male, in Guánica, Puerto Rico. Known as Boriquén, before the Europeans came to the Caribbean. My real name was Victor Cruz, one of 11 children. I found out that I was really female at an early age. After the second World War, my father moved to Brooklyn, New York … READ THE STORY

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73 year-old, white, gay man John Swallow at home in Dade City, Florida. John is a drag queen. His stage name is Miss Jo Ann. He lives with his husband Russ. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 23 March 2019

John Swallow/


“I’ve been chased down street and mocked and beaten for who I am. It only made me stronger and made me fight for my rights and those of others to exist and live free.”

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21 year-old, homeless heterosexual trans man, Terry Ruggiero at Trinity Place Shelter. Trinity Place Shelter is a non-sectarian, 10-bed transitional shelter that provides LGBTQ youth and young adults with a safe place to sleep, shower, eat and store belongings. Trinity Place Shelter provides a unique home and family-like environment where youth receive individualized care, respect, and the basic services so often denied them. Having such a space, staffed by professional social workers, supports our residents in gaining the skills and confidence needed to exit homelessness and begin to live into their dreams. In 2012 the Williams Institute estimated that of all homeless youth, 40% LGBTQI+. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness says the number is closer to 20%-40%. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 31 January 2019

Terry/


“After all the excitement I then got my top surgery and It was a memorable moment for me because I wouldn’t have to layer up my clothing anymore and I was able to wear my shirt off and feel more comfortable in my skin.”

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