Ugandan transgender swimmer in Edmonton gets refugee status: ‘Canada saved my life’

On Dec 27, 2016 Global News reported: A transgender man from Uganda who came to Edmonton in summer 2016 has been granted refugee status, after saying he feared for his safety to return to his home country, where homosexuality is illegal.

Adebayo Katiiti spoke to Global News in August as the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships were set to start. He took part in a panel where LGBTQ swimmers from around the world shared stories of the discrimination, brutality and hate they faced simply for being who they are.

Katiiti was participating in a gay pride event earlier that month when it was raided by police. The transgender man, who was a judge at the event, described police beating and inappropriately touching the people in attendance.

After he arrived in Edmonton, Katiiti said he received threatening messages from his family members, many of whom did not know his sexual orientation.

“Chasing me away, calling me evil, tell[ing] me I no longer belong to their family and if I go back, they will kill me,” he said.
While in Edmonton at the aquatics championship, he decided to seek refugee status.

“I wanted to save my life. My life was in danger back home,” he said.
“I thought [Edmonton was] a safe place for me to stay. It was where I was at that particular time when everything happened.”

Katiiti admits it was a tough decision to make.

“It wasn’t in my mind before I came. I wasn’t thinking about staying in Canada. I was ready to go back home, despite the police raid and everything I went through,” he said.

“[But] my life was in danger. I talked to the people I was living with, I was staying with. ‘No Adebayo, if your life is in danger, you can stay and save your life.’”

Read more at Ugandan transgender swimmer in Edmonton gets refugee status: ‘Canada saved my life’ |

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