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Assaulted in Bucharest

The main goal of my photo work with Drag Queens is to show the differences in tolerance, rights, and freedoms they have across countries within the same continent, Europe, with the European Union being so important.

RuPaul has done a lot of good for Drag Queens by putting them in the spotlight on TV worldwide through Netflix. This TV show may seem trivial and comedic, but there is a real message behind it, a positive strategy to "normalize" those who may not necessarily be like us. RuPaul is someone intelligent and brilliant. I hope you will have this kind of show on TV in Romania someday.

I started this series in Amsterdam, Netherlands, then in Helsinki, Finland, where Drag Queens have great freedom, can go out in the street without danger, and have a place in society. I saw the same in Liverpool! In Paris, there are many clubs where they can perform, and it's a very supportive community. In the west, it's much easier, and there are many TV shows where they are invited.

But in Budapest, I started to see how their lives are difficult in the east! Homophobia is strong in Hungary, and I followed some Drag Queens who only went out at night, with a big coat and a hood, getting into a car to go to one of the few clubs in the city where they can perform on stage. Many get beaten up in the street! For no reason!

In Bucharest, it's a bit the same. Just yesterday, I was taking pictures with one of them at her home.

Then we went out into the street in a seemingly quiet neighborhood.

And we were attacked and insulted by a man with a motorcycle helmet!

He wanted to hit her, and he pointed at me and asked, "Do you think this is normal?"

It was shocking, and we came very close to a fight.

Apparently, the fact that I am a foreigner and spoke to him in English calmed him down.

But here, I have encountered a great deal of homophobia, enormous lack of freedoms for this community. We are all in Europe, so it's time for attitudes to change.

I learned that in Romania, homosexuals could go to jail until 2001.

For a French person like me, it's crazy! I think things will eventually evolve here, but it will take time. Perhaps with the younger generations...

Anyway, thank you Sabrina FruitStar for your kindness and your courage!

with Drag Queen Sabrina Fruitstar in Bucharest

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