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'QUEER COMMONWEALTH' - A new photography exhibition captures the faces of the LGBTI rights movement in the Commonwealth


This Tuesday, April 17​, Thirty-three LGBTI activists from around the world are coming together to show their colours at the debut of a new ​photography exhibition. The exhibition, Queer Commonwealth: Faces of the LGBTI Movement, captures like never before, the faces of the human rights activists who are leading the way for LGBTI rights across the Commonwealth.

Currently, there are 72 countries across the world that criminalise consensual sex between men, with
45 also criminalising consensual same-sex intimacy between women. In the Commonwealth, 36 out
of 53 nations continue to criminalise homosexuality​, with 16 criminalising female homosexuality.
This represents half of the countries that criminalise same-sex intimacy worldwide. Last week,
following a legal challenge, Trinidad and Tobago became the most recent nation to decriminalise.
“In Trinidad we are a mix of different cultures, races and religions that continue to be affected by white
supremacy,” said Co-director of I Am One in Trinidad and Tobago, MPhil student at the University of
the West Indies, Zeleca ​Julien​. “But it's also our strength because to be Trinidadian is to be different.
It teaches you to push against injustice in creative and practical ways.”

“I’ve always wanted my work to represent a positive change in the world. Photographing people within
the LGBTI spectrum has become something that’s very important to me,” said renowned
photographer, Eivind Hansen​. “I hope the photos can create more visibility around LGBTI people and
their struggle for equality in the countries they come from.”

The stunning series of photographs, taken by London-based photographer Eivind Hansen and
commissioned by UK-based LGBTI human rights organisation Kaleidoscope Trust showcase 33
members of the Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN), a network of organisations working to
challenge inequality in the Commonwealth based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Making its debut in central London this week to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM), the photo series features subjects from Namibia and Barbados,
Malaysia and Malta, Australia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka and many more.
At CHOGM, government leaders from across the Commonwealth will meet in London to agree
collective policies for the next two years. This year will see the largest contingent of LGBTI activists
participating, with the most ambitious plan for global change.

“As a founding member and Secretariat of The Commonwealth Equality Network, Kaleidoscope Trust
strongly believes in joint advocacy,” said Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, Paul Dillane​.

“With 36 out of 53 Commonwealth nations criminalising homosexuality, the fight for global LGBTI
rights continues. These photos celebrate the vibrancy, positivity and diversity of LGBTI activists from
across the Commonwealth.”

Queer Commonwealth: Faces of the LGBTI Movement opens for a private viewing with the TCEN

activists on Tuesday April 17 ​and will be located in the main foyer of international law firm Pinsent
Masons (30 Crown Pl, London EC2A 4ES) in central London until Friday 20th April.