Escaping Uganda: Gay refugees forced to flee persecution

On Nov 29, 2016 Australian Broadcasting Network reported: A number of people from the LGBTQI community living in East Africa have had to flee their homes because of their sexuality.

Uganda is one the most intolerant places in the world for homosexual people.

Many have fled to neighbouring Kenya and are now refugees, waiting to be relocated to a country that will protect them.

Alia Adams was born in Kampala in a male body.

“In the house I can wear dresses and I can put on makeup but when I move out of the house I’ve just been hiding,” she said.

Two years ago, she was forced to leave her country of birth when her identity was revealed and her safety compromised.

“I left Uganda because I was published in the newspapers in 2014, [on] March first and second,” she said.

“My pictures and my real names were published in the newspapers.”

Losing hope

Many LBGTQI refugees flee to Kenya and live in the poorest neighbourhoods.

The conditions are not much better than Uganda and it is a tough existence.

Some turn to prostitution, others make handicrafts, but living and working in dense settlements means there are very few secrets.

“I was chased away from home by my family because my father said I’m terrible. I will spoil his children,” said refugee Umar Walusimbi, who escaped from Uganda to Kenya.

“Now I’m also here in Kenya. Life is not OK.”

Recently he was attacked while walking home.

“They called me, ‘You gay — where you going? Give us money’.

“They slapped me, I fell down. They wanted even to burn me. They do everything to me.”

Refugees cannot work in Kenya so the 25-year-old provides manicures and pedicures and charges about $3.

He wants to be resettled but is struggling with the uncertainty.

“I also lose hope. I just ask myself why can’t I die? What am I doing on Earth?” he said.

Read more at Escaping Uganda: Gay refugees forced to flee persecution – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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