Originally from the southern Turkish city of Adana, Bella was a familiar face at the recently-banned Istanbul Pride marches and at demonstrations supporting LGBTQ rights in Istanbul. She was also an employee of Pembe Hayat (Pink Life), an NGO in Turkey. Now Bella, who identifies as a transgender woman, is claiming asylum in Sweden. She lives with her Swedish-Finnish boyfriend Emil in Stockholm. Frustrated by the length of the asylum process and the poor treatment she says she faced, Bella went on a nine-day hunger strike last spring, after which the Swedish asylum services agreed to meet her, help improve her situation and speed up her case's timeframe.