"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 LGBTQ people and to distinguish between the values of East and West, particularly when it comes to the rights of sexual minorities. GAYROPA is the latest segment of my decade covering LGBTI+ asylum and migration.
This project offers a window into the lives of LGBTQ people from around the world who are claiming asylum, or have been granted asylum, in European countries on the grounds of their sexuality or gender identity.
Because the European Union has no common policy when it comes to dealing with LGBTQ asylum cases, these individuals face vastly different requirements to prove who they are, and demonstrate why they need protection.
But there is more that unites than divides this diverse group of people. Beyond a common experience of intolerance — sometimes violent — back home, they are dealing with the daily challenges of creating a life for themselves in a new country with a sense of purpose, despite the difficult circumstances.