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.
See “Part 1” of this blog post where we share episodes of persecution and discrimination within the family, at school and in the workplace.
Within the community
In South Africa I went through corrective rape in 2005, the police didn’t take the case seriously. I felt there was nowhere else I could go.
When I reached my teens, I decided to live, to open up my sexuality, and started to hang out with other gays. Suddenly people started to call me in names, wouldn’t let me enter the bars, clubs. I was violently attacked several times. (Uganda)
In Nigeria people would harass me and ask if I was a boy or a girl. I was too scared to do anything.
In Jamaica in 1980, members of the community attacked me because I was a lesbian. I have scars on my body. This happened often, every two months. I kept it to myself; I feared more people would attack me.
When I was 22 in Algeria I was attacked by 6 men, they dragged me to a car park and gang raped me. I was scared of reporting, people would say it was my fault.
In Pakistan all my life I was beaten, suffered verbal and physical abuse, mistreated, people used to spit on me. It became a normal routine and nobody would help me anyway.
When I was found with a guy, I was tortured, sent to hospitals; they tried to “exorcise” me so I decided to leave my hometown. (Nigeria)
In Jamaica in 1976 I was raped because I was accused to be a lesbian. I didn’t understand what had happened.
Abuse from the police
I was attacked by local people on 2 occasions and they tried to kill me, I still experience physical pain and mental health problems as a result. The police tried to intervene but I got arrested and detained for being gay. (Uganda)
In 2010 in Egypt I was with my friends in the street at night, the police insulted and arrested us because we were gay.
Between 2007 and 2008 prison officers raped me 5 times. I was beaten on a daily basis. (Uganda)
I was at school when it all started. At the age of 15. When the fellow students found out that we were gay (we were 3 boys), they set us up, began to beat us up, kicking us, called the teachers… They nearly killed me. I was taken to the police by the school authorities, but managed to walk away. But it didn’t matter. I was expelled from the school and went to my parents. I opened up to them and they were in shock, but they were still protecting me. Then the people from the local council went to my house to look for me, together with the police; they came with guns, looking for me. My parents denied that I was there but they saw my uniform and realized they were lying. So they shot them, as well as my two sisters. I only survived because I was hidden in the roof. (Uganda)