In his poem “Seventh Circle of the Earth”—a reference to Dante Alighieri’s fourteenth-century epic Divina Commedia, in which gay men inhabit the seventh circle of hell—the Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong responds to the 2011 killing of Michael Humphrey and Clayton Capshaw, a gay couple in Dallas who were stabbed and bludgeoned to death before their apartment was set on fire. The violence, however, is a brief punctuation in a tender account of love and intimacy:
the kitchen window,
another errant dove.
It’s funny. I always knew
I’d be warmest beside
Samar Hazboun’s photo series Errant Doves, the title of which is inspired by Vuong’s poem, depicting the queer community of Palestine over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, takes a similar approach. Although Hazboun’s subjects live their lives surrounded by violence—stemming from both the Israeli occupation of their homeland and society’s rejection of their sexuality—she focusses on that which remains despite the hardships they face: their creativity and resolve to live lives of their own choosing.