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The transgender teenager fled a military offensive in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and endured a days-long journey by boat and foot to reach a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh in 2017. But at the camp, instead of peace, she experienced continued abuse and isolation, driven by that same familiar discrimination. “I was tortured a lot in Myanmar because of my femininity,” the woman, who still lives in the camp, recalled. “I was beaten and so I went to the village representative, who blamed me, saying that it was my behaviour that caused me to get beaten.
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In every region of the world, LGBTIQ+ people are routinely denied their rights to freedom, safety, and equality. They may face pervasive discrimination, experience intolerable acts of violence that go unpunished, and lack access to justice. These experiences cannot be separated from struggles they may also face on account of other intersecting identities. Throughout this year’s moments of collective crisis, celebration, and all that is in between, LGBTIQ+ activists have continued to fight against inequalities, anchored in and strengthened by the work of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour, to push for a safer, more equal world.