Homosexuality remains illegal in some way in 72 countries around the world. Not only that, but 12 of these countries allow the death penalty for homosexual acts.

A transgender model protested this injustice with a beautiful, powerful image in which she wore the flags of countries that still ban homosexuality — turning their symbols of hate into a rainbow:

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During the opening walk of euro pride in Amsterdam 2 weeks ago, 72 flags of 72 different countries where homosexuality is against the law were present, in 12 of these countries you still get the death penalty for being gay. the COC (Dutch organization for LGBT men and women) collected these flags and together with Fashion designer Matthijs van Bergen and artist Oeri van Woezik they decided to make these flags into a giant rainbow dress. That's when the idea started. I then was asked to come on board to create a image. And where best to do that then in front of one of the most beautiful paintings in the world "the night watch" by Rembrandt in "Het Rijksmuseum" Roger and I decided Monday morning to fly out that same night to holland to do this project that in many ways is very close to our harts. Everyone spend a crazy 4 days of pre and post production but we did it and we delivered. I am more then proud to present the beautiful Valentijn de Hingh in the Rainbow dress in the Honor gallery of "Het Rijksmuseum" Thank you Arnoud van Krimpen, Jochem Kaan and everyone that made this all possible in such a short period of time. Thank you Happy pride everyone! Let there be Love! #rijksmuseum #nachtwacht #nightwatch #coc #valentijndehingh #pieterhenket #WomenbyPieter

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Here is a map of the countries known to ban homosexuality, based on a 2016 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA):

Enforcement in these countries varies — some only ban male homosexuality, laws and enforcement can be different within different local jurisdictions, and a few have laws that aren’t frequently or at all enforced. But even having these laws in place is something that defies the most basic expectations for LGBTQ equality.

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En una mezcla de arte y protesta política, dos diseñadores han creado el Vestido Arcoíris, una pieza compuesta por 72 banderas que representan todos los países en los que la homosexualidad es ilegal y puede ser castigada judicialmente. En 12 de estos países, además, es causa suficiente para aplicar la pena de muerte.

El vestido fue presentado el pasado 5 de agosto en el Museo Nacional de Ámsterdam, aunque la idea surgió días antes durante la celebración del EuroPride, que en esta ocasión acogía la ciudad holandesa. Entonces, desfilaron a modo de crítica esas 72 banderas que ahora han recuperado para la confección de la prenda. Detrás de ella están el diseñador de moda holandés Mattijs van Bergen y el artista Oeri van Woezik, que crearon el vestido en colaboración con COC, una organización holandesa que trabaja para defender los intereses de hombres y mujeres del colectivo LGBTI.

Al proyecto se ha sumado además el fotógrafo Pieter Henket, encargado de realizar un retrato del vestido en la Galería de Honor del Rijksmuseum frente al famoso cuadro La ronda de noche de Rembrandt. Según Van Woezik, se escogió esta localización porque en la obra se representa el pináculo de Ámsterdam como símbolo de una ciudad libre y comprometida con la libertad sexual. La modelo que ha posado con el vestido también tiene un importante peso simbólico. Se trata de Valentijn de Hingh, la primera modelo transgénero en ser contratada por IMG Models, una de las agencias de modelaje más importantes del mundo.

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El diseño del Vestido Arcoíris cuenta con dos partes diferenciadas. Por un lado, el corpiño, confeccionado con la bandera de la ciudad de Ámsterdam, y por otro la falda, que mide más de 15 metros y está compuesta por las banderas de los 72 países en los que ser homosexual se considera ilegal. Cada vez que uno de estos países cambie sus leyes, y legalice la homosexualidad, su insignia será sustituirá por una bandera arcoíris.

Entre estos países se encuentra Yemen, donde hombres casados pueden ser sentenciados a muerte por tener relaciones sexuales con otros hombres; Nigeria, país en el que algunos estados también han adoptado la pena de muerte; y Mauritania, donde hombres musulmanes que participen en relaciones homosexuales pueden ser lapidados hasta la muerte, y las mujeres encarceladas. Desde que se creó el vestido, Belice ha despenalizado la homosexualidad. 72 banderas se quedarán en 71, y la de Belice se reemplazará por una bandera arcoíris.

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A team of Dutch designers has created a dress made with the flags of 72 countries where being LGBTQ is still illegal, and in some cases could get you killed.

Fashion designer Mattijs van Bergen and spatial designer Oeri van Woezik collaborated on the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress, along with LGBTQ rights group COC Amsterdam, and in conjunction with EuroPride festivities. It was unveiled at the COC Shakespeare Club in the Amsterdam Museum on Friday.

The bodice of the dress, worn by transgender model Valentijn de Hingh, is made from the Amsterdam flag. Amsterdam is known as an overall welcoming place for LGBTQ people. The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2001. The Equal Rights Law, enacted in 1993, banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodations and more. Transgender individuals are allowed to legally change their gender, although protections on the basis of gender identity and expression have not yet been enacted countrywide.

The rest of the 52-foot long dress is made up of the flags from the 72 countries where being LGBTQ is illegal, including ten countries that have the death penalty for homosexuality, such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Photographer Pieter Henket documented Hingh wearing the dress in the Rijksmuseum.

After Amsterdam’s annual Pride parade, Arnout van Krimpen and Jochem Kaan of COC Amsterdam reached out to Bergen and Woezik to see if they could do something interesting with Amsterdam flags, Upworthy reports.

Van Bergen and Van Woezik working on the dress. Image by Jochem Kaan.

If a country should change its laws, legalizing homosexuality, then they will update the dress by adding a rainbow flag in the place of that country’s flag, reports COC Amsterdam.

“Historically, Amsterdam has always been a safe haven for those who were not safe because of their ideas or because of who they were,” Chairman of COC Amsterdam Peter de Ruijter told The Huffington Post. “We wanted, however, to give an activating message, that this role as a safe haven is not automatic. It needs to be supported and upheld by the Amsterdam citizens from a shared understanding of equality for all…Given the current influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa the dress signals to the Amsterdam citizens: contribute, involve yourselves, connect.”

Watch video of the dress being modeled and photographed below.

De Hingh also gave a TED Talk several years ago about the gender dichotomy and her decision to have gender reassignment surgery. Hingh was the subject of a television documentary, Valentijn, following her life as a transgender child, from the ages of 8 to 17.

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