In October 2013 we launched an innovative piece of research to examine the relationships between being a refugee in the UK, poverty and sexual orientation.
As part of our research we spoke with 50 lesbian and gay refugees from 13 different countries who shared some of the experiences of persecution and discrimination which they had faced.
One of the aims of Micro Rainbow is to change social attitudes in order to achieve equality of LGBTI people. By sharing these stories with you we hope to create more awareness of the key issues and to take a further step towards equality for everyone. If you want to help us change social attitudes, please share these stories on your social media; together we can make an impact.
Within the family
My family kicked me out of the house when they found out. I had to leave my community. I was too scared they were very religious and a strong figure in the community. (Jamaica)
In Algeria when I was as a child my father caught me dressed up as a woman, beat me several times and burned my leg with a blowtorch.
In Uganda I was caught with my girlfriend on New Year eve by my brothers and sisters. They beat me and took me to police station.
In Malawi I was caught by my family kissing my girlfriend, my father disowned me, community were violent towards me. You can’t report to anyone, you fear everybody, you are nothing.
My dad kicked me out of the house and tried to “exorcise” me, because he thought I was possessed by a demon. (Uganda)
When my parents found out about me, they called a witchdoctor to purify me and tried to “exorcise” me, they made him drink blood from a chicken etc. (Ghana)
I was expelled from school and beaten up by my classmates and even the gatekeepers. I was wounded, couldn’t go home, spent two nights on the street, had to find a shelter for two months with my partner. I was really starving. (Uganda)
When I was at the University, I was caught with a guy, and then I was humiliated by the other students. I was beaten up, forced to walk naked in the corridors etc. (Ghana)
In Uganda I was expelled from school when they found out I was a lesbian.
In the workplace
My boss almost fired me when he found out I was a lesbian, he started to change my shifts, hid me in the workplace, wouldn’t give me any tasks or even pay me properly. (Uganda)
In Jamaica nobody wanted to give me a job and I had no choice but to set up my own. I tried to be a waiter in Le Meridian hotel but when they knew I was gay they harassed me.
In Uganda when I finished my business course I was forced to marry my boss’ son when he found out that I was a lesbian. After 6 months I ran away.