The Poetic Pain of Hell by an LGBTQI Refugee

So much pain reflected in the words of one LGBTQI refugee – and its speaks to the thousands who now seeking protection… Constantly escaping and escaping hate only to face hell

Copyright, 2018.  7 LGBT Transgender refugees Kakuma c/o African Human Rights Coalition, © Published here wit permission. These pictures  can only be republished with written permission from nathan@AfricanHRC.org

Just this weekend I was honored to give a speech at the event hosted by Jill and Michael at Jillie’s Wine Bar and Shop in San Anselmo, Marin County. The robustly attended event was held for African Human Rights Coalition, to celebrate our work and raise funds. In my speech I reported what I have learned directly from gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex refugees who are caught between a rock and a hard place, when the protection of a displaced LGBTQI person is not what it ought to be, and resettlement not guaranteed. Unlike heterosexual refugees, who are protected by UNHCR and the host country, LGBTQI refugees continue to suffer at the hands of hostile hosts!  When in the host country they experience the very same persecution that they escaped from! This is mostly because the host country itself is hostile to LGBTQI people due to their own criminalizing laws and the ramifications of such. Also the host country and UNHCR, fail to provide full protection due to lack of funds, some homophobic employees, and a heterosexual refugee population which harbor the same animosity that the LGBTQI people were subjected to in their home communities.  Noting that LGBTQI refugee are often physically attacked by local police in host countries as well as fellow heterosexual refugees.

When giving such speeches I fall short of the words of those experiencing the agony. I am posting the words of a refugee who I shall keep anonymous:

In the words of a LGBTQI refugee in Kenya pleading to UNHCR and the World:

I’m so eking out in a meagre existence
Living in a subsist state of limbo, lingering on streets sleeping hungry
My predicament ain’t that far from those killed and dragged by authorities
Abducted , beaten and  forced to relocate frequently to avoid the scrutiny and potential hostility from the community
I face difficulty in reporting all the threats, attacks to police due to constant vulnerable abuses and extortion by the police itself
Employment and shelter are incredibly hard to come by
My acquaintances are targeted
Danger lurks everyday while enduring all the suffering in uncertainty
No support for my emotional problems
Routinely denied basic human rights
Despite the overwhelming evidence of my claims and concerns, you have appeared largely in administering my misery
The journey is extremely traumatic, invasive and long- winded with no guarantee of change
Really lost hope and faith in a system plagued by insensitivity and inefficiency
Still denied access, suffer discrimination at your hands in attempt to access assistance from you
I’m finding it hard to find effective protection and lasting solutions
Do you  see that your unexplained delays and reason for not accessing services cause me to suffer?
(Profound uncertainty)
I have no power to push my case forward nor ask out information on why my case is being delayed or why it’s in Kakuma as you claimed?
Why deprived of the most basic information about my fate?
I wonder whether you really consider the hardships I endure in this unfriendly environment
Is it the reason you together with the brutal enforcement of Kenya Detention policy (which against a standing court order) push refugees to camps  illegally?
I have tried accessing services and you have declined everything claiming my data belongs to Kakuma refugee camp yet all the documentation I possess belong to urban,the little services received  and a matter of fact emails you send me as attached below
Why I’m I unable to get recognized as a person with equality?
Human as you, made of flesh and bones
Why only see trivial things?
I may not be able to speak for myself with greater voices and dignity as you do but I too have human rights
All the ignored pain within me
Sincerely stabs with a 1000 knives
Constantly escaping and escaping hate only to face hell
Why is this the only outcome to my fate?
I’m really so trapped!
Speaking like a parrot to eagles
Have  obeyed
Only to become a rotten tomato stepped on by thorny shoes
Forced to fit in
I can’t speak up
Not a word
I can’t stand up for my rights
My soul is gone
You took it from me
Just like a gun takes away light and brings darkness
What can I do?
I’m your slave
A prisoner bound to your chains
Will this be my fate forever?
Don’t I have rights and freedom?
But where’s everything?
All gone
Taken by you!
I really appreciate____Redacted____’s effort towards helping LGBTIQ refugees though she ain’t in office anymore
Her effort was sincere and efficient!
Now…..
Whom shall I run to?
I’m severely pained
At this time many LGBTQI people are on the run from severe discrimination and persecution. Uganda has yet again been hard hit by recent violence and there are very few options open to its suffering community. Those who may choose to seek safety through becoming a refugee – often the only option for exile- see the suffering, insecurities and uncertainty of LGBTQI refugees as expressed by the refugee above – and so they too ask “Whom shall I run to? I’m severely pained.” It is time for us all to step up to the plate. Let us start by asking for funding – so that we can do the work that is truly life saving!  AND Lest we forget the responsibility of the U.S.A. to open our doors to refugees, noting how severely LGBTQI refugees are impacted by the reduction in refugee numbers permitted into the United States by the Donald J. Trump administration.

MELANIE NATHAN
Commissionermnathan@gmail.com

Advocacy: African Human Rights Coalition
Speaker: Melnathan
Mediation: Private Courts
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1
Instagram: @commissionermelnathan


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