Born in Switzerland in a family of Iranian origins, photographer Laurence Rasti has always been interested in identity issues and how culture influences the life and personality of every individual.
For his latest work Il n’y a pas des homosexuels en Iran (tr. There are no homosexuals in Iran), Laurence decided to explore the conditions of Iranian homosexuals. Iran is one of eight countries in the world where homosexuality is still punishable by death. The only ‘option’ gays in Iran have is to change their gender: transsexuals are tolerated by the government, and this is only because gender reassignment is seen as the cure to a medical problem. In fact, the state generously contributes to the costs of sex change operations, which are performed at the highest rate than any other country, except for Thailand.
Since last March, Laurence has been visiting a small Turkish town called Denizli, where many Iranian gays take refuge before moving on to a more liberal country and live their lives as homosexuals in the day of the light. “An individual is defined by the notion of identity. When he cannot live this identity freely in his own country, he has no other choice but fleeing,” says Laurence.