The pleas for help continue to pour in from countries around the world, where people are attacked for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). These are usually people who have been shunned by family, friends and government, alike, with nowhere to turn. While you may feel that there is nothing you can do to help – well thats not true. If we get together and each donate even the smallest amount, we can play a critical role in saving another life.
Together, through this work at African HRC, we have played a significant part in over 100 people reaching safety since 2014, literally one life at a time, through crowd source funding. None of us get paid to do this – and so we plod on, hoping readers like you will help in this critical role.
Imagine being knifed and left for dead only to recover to a continuum of persecution with little to no resources to bring you to safety? African Human Rights Coalition is sharing the story of Jemi, a 38 year old gay man.
(Note his actual name and African Country of origin is not being published for his protection)
African HRC fundraiser reflecting this plea and story can be found HERE in Jemi’s own words:
“Just over two years ago I ran from my country, which criminalized me as a gay man. I am now 38 years of age. I am still trying to reach safety:
I grew up an effeminate little boy not understanding why I felt different. At puberty I realized I was attracted to other boys, but didn’t realize the implication until secondary school. My confusion was made worse by my staunch religious life. I therefore couldn’t identify with my sexuality, and felt sick and disgusted with myself for being an abomination like the Bible said.
When I went to university I started to understand myself and had I allowed myself to have my first experience with a man. I found it very difficult to find other gay men as where I lived gay life is underground and secretive. It was very risky for me to make any approach. This is a very lonely way to live as I have no parents and my family is estranged. Frustrated and scared I contemplated marrying a woman and trying to be “normal” like others. However, I could not bring myself to be dishonest and unfair to another person.
I faced discrimination, persecution and threats to my life and it became worse when the country passed a new harsh anti-gay law. At work I was given an ultimatum, I was told that people were suspicious of my sexuality and that I should marry a woman to convince my co-workers that I was not gay. And so I was forced to resign my good job. The scourge of being my age and unmarried seemed to follow wherever I went and so I encountered the same discriminatory treatment.
After I found a job, people soon, again, realized I was different, no matter how hard I tried to hide who I was – and so in one instance I was beaten up and thrown off the premises.
Soon the rejection and abuse followed into all aspects of my life. Even my close friends stopped associating with me. It seemed I was cursed. I felt so alone.
At great pain I made the decision to leave my country. I crossed a border and tried to get help through UNHCR in the hope that I could be legally resettled to a country where being gay is not a crime and where I could live my life normally, safely and hopefully happily. However, while the refugee agency’s decision was pending, while walking on the street in the neighborhood where I resided, I was attacked by 2 assailants. With several vicious blows, the knife just missed my heart and punctured my lung. After some time in hospital, I was lucky to survive, though have been left with respiratory problems as a result. The pain of rejection continues as I live daily in fear of another attack.
I believe I was targeted because rumors had filtered out that a gay foreigner is living in the community. With nowhere to go I returned to the same area to more hostility. I lived daily in fear for my life, not knowing whom to trust, and constantly on the move.
In order to get asylum, I had to reveal that I am gay. But my host country refuses to register my case as they too criminalize my sexuality. The flawed process denies me refugee status. I am stuck on a continent where almost every country sees me as a criminal. As I continue to get chased from place to place I sought help and have reached out to countless international groups , all saying there is nothing they are able to do to assist me. I have now reached out to African Human Rights Coalition, who are willing to help me. And together we have made a plan for my safety.
As a result of the trauma I suffer from severe PTSD. I am not safe here and need to start implementing the plan but cannot do it without funding. Please help me get to freedom and safety. I want to return to the profession I love. I want a normal life where I am free to love as a gay person. I believe I have much to offer a new country. It is my dream to be a productive member of an accepting community.
I thank you for your help.
African HRC is vouching for my situation. There is no funding available to implement the plan for me to reach safety, and so I am asking for your kindness and help.
African HRC fundraiser on my behalf is HERE.
The website is at www.AfricanHRC.org
If you have questions you can write to nathan@africanhRC.org
Photo: By Melanie Nathan Art by George Boys | Owned by Melanie Nathan © 2017
Gift from Nora and Manfred Favish