Queen: The love will come, eventually

In this piece, Nigerian lesbian Queen talks about finding community, friendship, and hopefully love in the UK.
Queen on the tube

Reaching the UK and receiving her refugee status means that Queen can finally live, and love openly. She spoke to Micro Rainbow about finding friends and community through events and activities, and focusing on herself. Read below to learn about the differences between dating in Nigeria –where it is illegal to be LGBTQI – and the UK, and what her plans are for the future.

Connecting with Micro Rainbow

I came to the UK in March 2023, and claimed asylum soon after arriving. I wasn’t involved in any LGBTQI organisations for a while, after having a bad experience when I first got here. I kept to myself.

But then I started having a really tough time in January 2024. The people I was living with asked me to leave. I reached out to Micro Rainbow to learn about housing, and how to join the waiting list. They put me on the list, but also signposted me to Micro Rainbow events. I went to my first event – a Moving On Employability workshop – that same month and started to meet people.

Finding friends

I’m not really a friendly person, but I am trying to make more friends, and the Micro Rainbow events have helped me with that. I am already quite close to a few people who I met through moving on and social inclusion activities. We talk outside of events, about things like schooling and making progress here. I am happy that I have been able to make a couple of friends, even if at the moment it’s just two or three!

Going out

Meeting people has helped me to get out of my head. I had to leave Nigeria because I was always sad, I was just living in my head because I couldn’t live in real life. I left to try and live my truth, to be happy and find my community. I have started to find that through Micro Rainbow. I attend a lot of the events through the social inclusion programme, like theatre trips, dance and Sista Sista. I have also started to explore going out to lesbian and women-only nights and events in London to meet people. 

Freedom to be out and date

I don’t think I’m going to ever have a coming out story because I don’t see straight people saying: “oh hi everyone, I’m straight”, but here I am out and proud in a way I could not be in Nigeria. In Nigeria, dating is hard. For me it was either long distance or things that were not really defined in case people found out. Using dating apps is not an option in Nigeria – a lot of people try to entrap you that way. Then they can blackmail you or worse or tip off the police. It’s more prevalent for gay men but it still happens to women. So, I mostly stayed off the apps because it wasn’t safe.

In the UK it’s different, but not necessarily a whole lot better! I thought dating in Nigeria was terrible, but here everyone is trying to get you in threesome situations or involved in “ethical non monogamy”. And then being a refugee or asylum seeker can make things complicated.

Sometimes you can be talking to someone and getting on really well. I had this happen with a woman I was chatting with, then I told her I was an asylum seeker and she immediately blocked me on everything. This has happened more than once, so I keep things to myself more now.

Focusing on myself

Now I have my refugee status, I can start moving on with my life. I am focusing on getting my own place, a job and building my life. I want to investigate converting my degrees. I have also been thinking about going back to school.

I took part in Micro Rainbow employability workshops before I got my status, and I found that they were really useful in helping me sort out my CV, It has made me feel more prepared for applying for jobs, and the interview practise sessions helped build my confidence. I also received a laptop through the employability sessions – this has made lots of things much easier!

So really, my priorities now are shaping my future. I need to focus on myself right now, and I’ve always said that the love will come. Eventually.

Help us continue supporting LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers

Help other people like Queen, who are forced to flee their home countries because of the persecution they face. Become a Micro Rainbow ally and support LGBTQI refugees and people seeking asylum.

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