On the heels of our campaign supporting Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma's call for decriminalization across ALL commonwealth countries (www.allout.org/wearenotillegal), All Out is working on a new project to highlight the personal stories of those who live in the 75+ countries around the world that criminalize LGBT relationships.
It's a new photo blog called #WeAreNotIllegal, and is in part inspired by the hundreds of moving, first person testimonials we received from All Out members around the world in the course of this campaign.
We've figured out a way to do this that will protect everybody's identity -- but that still display these stories in a simple and powerful way (see photo submission from one of our members in Malaysia).
It is similar in style to the new "We are the 99%" blog recently created as part of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in the U.S. (http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/) -- where people write a testimonial on a piece of paper, hold it up against their face, and take a picture of it. This 99% blog has attracted media attention around the world -- because it allows people to tell their personal stories of dealing with the extreme economic inequality and injustice in the United States.
By using the same format to share first-person stories of those of us living with these colonial era laws -- we think it will be a powerful story-telling platform, a way to personalize this issue, and to give energy to the long-term fight to scrap these laws all over the world.
If you live in one of the 75+ countries where these archaic criminalization laws are still on the books and would like to share your story with the world, here are the three easy steps:
- Write a testimonial on a piece of paper, telling how criminalization effects you, and why these laws need to be eliminated. At the bottom of every testimonial, please write #WeAreNotIllegal. Anybody can do this -- LGBT, straight ally, friend, family, health care provider, everybody welcome.
- Take a picture of yourself holding up your statement. You can use the statement to cover up as much of your face as you want, to protect your identity as needed.
- Email that image to firstname.lastname@example.org (or to me directly at email@example.com). Please include your first name (or "anonymous" if you prefer), your country, and your permission for us to post this image to the "We Are Not Illegal" blog. We will launch the blog later this week, and use it to draw the world media's attention to the impacts on millions of us around the world of these colonial era laws.