41 year old, gay man Salah Barka, an openly gay fashion designer from the conservative south of Tunisia. Most LGBTQI+ people in the region are met with hostility by their families should they reveal their sexuality. When Salah's homosexuality was revealed to his mother he was fortunate to be met with acceptance: ''When my brother told her that her son is homosexual, at first she didn't understand because my mom has never been to school so my brother explained that her son is having sex with other men and she said: 'And so?' My brother then told her that everyone is talking about it and she replied 'as long as he doesn't bring the police to our home, he can do whatever he wants with his life', and that was a real shock to me, like a slap in the face. It was not a normal reaction to me, because I was expecting a war, the end of the world, or being beaten up.''

Many from the LGBTQI+ community hoped the Tunisian Revolution (Jasmine Revolution) would usher in a more open society, and an end to homophobia and transphobia. This has not come to pass. The laws that target LGBTQI+ people remain, most notably article 230 which makes same-sex acts illegal, punishable by up the 3 years in prison. Transgender people are targeted under public decency laws. The general public is no more accepting of LGBTQI+ people than they were before the revolution. Despite the legal and societal discrimination, activists are dedicated to campaigning more openly.

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Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures
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32.72 x 42.33 cm (300 dpi)
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