When we used to meet we were flying somewhere in Europe to have more freedom. How difficult is it for a gay man to live in Romania? Do you feel that life where you live is different for a gay person than in other large cities in the country? It has more tourists and people coming for business than in other cities in Romania.
The diversity brings more gay people, so the opportunity of meeting somebody (for sex or relationships) is bigger than in the other parts of the country.
On a mud wall in the corner of the back room where Stefania Nastrut lives with her father, the names of the brothers and sisters she never sees are written in a colorful teenage scrawl.
Nearby sits the car battery that is the family's only electricity.“I’m staying here only to finish my school,” said Nastrut, 18. I will not expect no one to give me money, to criticize me that he gives me money,” she said.
I had a taste of what it is like to be a gay man there when we lived in Brasov in 2013.
Stefania Nastrut, 18, is a rarity in her region, the poorest in the European Union (EU), simply because she is still here.
After the interviews I did with gay people living in Malaysia, I received many requests to continue the series in other countries where it can be challenging to be gay.
While there have been positive changes—mostly because of the fall of Communism and the necessary changes to become part of the European Union—things are still not where they need to be for the LGBT people living there.
Nastrut is a rarity in this hilly region of Romania, among the poorest in the European Union, simply because she is still there. State Department’s 2014 “Trafficking in Persons" report, one-third of Romania’s trafficking victims are underage girls.
By the time they reach her age, most teenage girls there — as young as 13 — have long quit school, with many disappearing into the realm of sex trafficking. There, traffickers have a keen eye for those made vulnerable by their desperation to leave, making the girls ideal victims.