Sometimes the job requires going back into the closet for Bradley Secker, a British photojournalist based in Turkey. In one moment, he feels the need to conceal his sexuality. In another, it’s his ticket to being trusted and telling the story. He reflects on his own challenges of staying safe while also discussing the narrow portrayal of LGBTQ* individuals in the media.

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Wissam Farhat, from Damascus, Syria, is gay and waiting for resettlement to a third country, as he no longer feels safe in Istanbul, Turkey. In the past 12 months, there have been several gay men and trans women murdered in the city, both locals and refugees. Photo by Bradley Secker, @bsecker

If you open my wallet, you will find a slightly worn photograph of a woman. When I glance at her image, I smile. This woman isn’t my wife or girlfriend, but a close friend who keeps me somewhat safe from the cloud of homophobia that follows me into the field.

As a photographer based in Istanbul, Turkey, I would have liked to cover the operation in early 2017 to retake Mosul, in neighbouring northern Iraq, but one of the many reasons I didn’t was because I don’t trust the Shia militias that were so prevalent in the battle. …

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