"Gayropa" is a word often used by Russian authorities to refer to Europe. It is meant to signify both Russia's lack of acceptance of LGBTIQ people and to distinguish between the values of East and West, particularly when it comes to the rights of sexual minorities.
Polarising as our world may be, this project documents the unity and togetherness of LGBTIQ people from around the world, who are claiming asylum, or have been granted asylum in various European countries based on their sexuality or gender identity.
Asylum-seekers face a series of hurdles as widely varied as the stories that brought them to the Continent.
Through photographs and audio interviews, you are able to meet this diverse range of individuals who are all connected somehow, in the intolerance they faced back at home, and the daily challenges of making a new life in a new country.
The photographer behind this project is Bradley Secker, a British freelance photojournalist based in Istanbul, Turkey since early 2012. Bradley covers a range of breaking news and longer term features for international magazines and newspapers, as well as his personal projects, when time permits. His work on LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees began in 2010, when he spend several months in Damascus, Syria photographing gay Iraqi men who fled Iraq after a wave of violent attacks against the community by various militia groups. Bradley then documented the lives of Iranian LGBTIQ people seeking asylum from cities in central and western Turkey. More recently, his work has focused on 'survival-sex' and the prevalence of sex work amongst gay and transgender refugees in Istanbul.
Along with Gayropa, Bradley's personal work continues to document the lives of sexual minorities in Turkey and the surrounding region, alongside his other personal work which focuses on very different (non LGBTIQ) subject matters.
This project was generously supported by the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting, and the National Geographic Society, covering the expenses of the many reporting trips. This is very much still an ongoing project, and more stories will be shared shortly.
**Due to COVID-19 this project has been put on hold, and will resume as soon as travel, and working close to people is safe and possible**
Images and audio will be published on this website as well as the gayropa.eu instagram page.
Dedicated to all LGBTIQ people forced to flee their lives because of who they are. To those who ran, and continue to run, to live their lives freely.
Whatsapp/phone: +90-531-502-2685 / +44-783-158-6663
*** I've used the acronym LGBTIQ most often in this project, which stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer. It is not intended to exclude others, for which a much longer acronym could be used. ***