In a world in which everyday people are experiencing trauma, a brave young man has come forward to share his story and those of other LGBT Refugees escaping and/or living in countries in which being LGBTQ is a risk to their very lives. This is a first in a series of guest posts. You can find @GeoffreyRainbo on Twitter. — n.s.s.jacobs
Hello world! This is @Geoffrey Rainbo, a twenty-three-year-old gay man from Uganda currently living in Nairobi after having spent much time in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya. I will be sharing my story and the stories of my fellow LGBT refugees, many who are still living in Kakuma, in a series of posts with the aim of giving a voice to the voiceless, alerting the world to our plight, and letting others in similar situations know that they are not alone.
Here’s my story in brief:
In Uganda, I was my parents’ first-born child. But they never acknowledged nor accepted my sexual orientation. Because my family rejected me, I became homeless. Luckily, a Catholic priest helped me and five other LGBTs by giving us refuge in his home. But even then it was not safe. When my friend Gideon and his partner were caught romancing, the members of the community beat both men so badly that Gideon died a few days later.
After Gideon died, I decided to seek asylum in Kenya. By that time, the priest could no longer help us because in 2014 Uganda attempted to pass a devastating piece of legislation known as the “Kill the Gays Bill.” In addition, gay people in Uganda can be sentenced for as long as ten years in prison or bludgeoned to death by a mob if our sexuality is discovered.
Right now at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya there are between fifty and sixty other LGBT refugees. Their lives are a living hell. I’ll be sharing more about that later.
I write so that the world know what is happening to us. I write so that someone who reads this and is also experiencing the same kind of challenges, whether in their native land or in a foreign country, will know that they are not alone. I hope they can find in my words the hope to survive, live the best they can, and know how brave and strong they are.
I am eager to reach out to other LGBT refugees and LGBT refugee organizations. Together, we can work for a better world in which we are free to be ourselves and love whom we love without fearing for our lives.
Stay tuned for more!
@GeoffreyRainbo on Twitter
If you would like to financially support LGBT Refugees in Kenya, you can DONATE to the LGBT Refugees in Kenya Gofundme campaign, of which I am co-manager. Thank you for your generosity — n.s.s.jacobs