In the gay community in Uganda we always say ALUTA CONTINUA- the struggle continues. Will you join the struggle?
Where does one start? It seems like this journey has gone on for a life time. Not just for me but hundreds and thousands of others. What am I talking about? Good question. The life of not just any immigrant but of lesbians, gay, bi, transgender and intersex people all over the world. You know the ones I am talking about, persecuted and shamed in their own home countries forced to flee and seek a new life elsewhere, with the hope that maybe just maybe we can forge a new life. A life that is free of fear, persecution, neglect and shame.
Maybe I should start from the beginning and give you a little insight. You see, I had a rather happy childhood, loving and caring parents and siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and as I write this right now I kid you not when I say I have over 35 first cousins. Now I know many people may look at AFRICA as a country full of disease, poverty, hunger (the list of negatives could go on forever) but I was one of the lucky few. I wanted for nothing, I was fed, clothed, educated but most of all I was surrounded by love from family and friends. With all this being said I still felt like I did not quite fit in with all my relations not even my siblings. Something was amiss…
That something I would later find out at the age of 16 was my sexuality. Even though I was not aware that it was illegal to be gay in my country, I knew the bible said it was wrong and having grown up in a Christian family I automatically knew I could not discuss this with anyone. Can you imagine finding the last piece of the puzzle you have been working on all Christmas and putting it in its right place but being unable to show anyone that you made sense of this puzzle? That was me, lost and confused, wanting to share my joys of finally understanding myself but being unable to. So for year I battled with myself about what to do. I can definitely tell you this I am no closet queen and this made it even harder to find a balance. Trying to be true to myself, learn more about myself without getting caught by my family or the law that was pushing to make homosexuality punishable by death.
How do we challenge ourselves to make the world safer for all minorities? Is it enough that a few hundred stand up and protest?
Eventually, I saw no other alternative but to leave.
And so to Iceland I came.
Now, I am more fortunate than most,
I was able to leave.
Here I am trying to forge a life. I am thankful for many things, I don’t live in fear any more being top of the list. I am
however sad because I don’t have that sense of family and kinship like I used to but I am safe. I can sleep easy at night.
So what about all the ones that are unable to make it out? What about the ones that do and are not believed to be gay by the authorities in the countries that they flee to and are held in detention centers or sent back to their respective home countries? What about the ones that don’t make it out alive? Are we all doing enough to see to it that’s every human being has their basic human rights met? Are we concerned? Or do we have a ‘what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you’ type of mentality? How do we challenge ourselves to make the world safer for all minorities? Is it enough that a few hundred stand up and protest?
I leave you with this last question: what are you doing to make the world a better place? No matter how small, are you doing anything at all?
In the gay community in Uganda we always say ALUTA CONTINUA– the struggle continues. Will you join the struggle?
Originally published on sandkassinn.com, a website dedicated to multiculture, equality, arts and culture.