Jenny / United Kingdom
“In the early 1980’s a beautiful charismatic Somali girl met a hard working British/South African man travelling and working around East and Southern Africa.
By 1994 I had arrived into the world.
Due to my father’s work commitments, they had chosen to raise myself and my sibling in Malawi. The city of Lilongwe is filled with vibrant people and culture, my childhood was filled with nothing but wonderful adventures because of this.
I pretty much knew from the get go that I was somewhat different. The word ‘gay’ to me was completely unknown, totally alien. My first experience of this word came from hearing various stories about how disgusting and criminal gays were to society. At the time, homosexual acts were illegal.
Witnessing a man taunted and beaten in the street validated the fact that in no way would I ever express my sexuality in this country, the thought was completely terrifying.
-When my parents decided that that we would be making the permanent move to England, my life completely changed.
As beautiful as Malawi is, I knew how toxic it was to those in the lgbtqi+ community, and how much slower progression would be there.
Eventually (after years of staying closeted at school) I came out at the age of 19. Although met with a lot of questioning from my father and disownment from extended family, I was completely and utterly happy.
I spent a lot of that year dealing with depression and the the anxiety that consumed my mind. I eventually went travelling, and for the first time, I was proud to be a gay woman of colour.
As cheesy and cliché as what I’m about to say is- I think it’s important for anyone and everyone in the lgbtqi+ community to just keep going. Please don’t give up. Be absolutely proud of the human you are and learn to love every sense of your being.
Realising who I am and accepting this was the biggest achievement in my life so far. Being able to fall in complete and utter mutual compatible weirdness with a woman and walk through the streets of Brighton holding her hand is simply beautiful. I often think about those that do not have this privilege.”