1st July 2020

Hi, my name is Matanda and l am from Cameroon. I am seeking asylum in the UK because it unsafe for me to live in Cameroon because it is illegal to be LGBTQ+.

In Cameroon, you are not accepted if you are LGBTQ+ and you can be killed by the Government or Police. Someone can’t choose to not be gay or lesbian etc. It is something that is very complicated to explain to people because some people don’t believe that you can’t choose. Most people born gay but some of them hide it. Why? Because we are ashamed, scared or afraid of people in our family or of the Government because it is still taboo. That is why lots of people in my country suffer and struggle - because they live with shame. People are being killed or sent to prison because of their sexuality and that’s why some people like us are trying to get out of the country, so that we can live a free life.

The problem for us is that we struggle to come out in our own countries so when we claim asylum in the UK, we think that is the end of suffering, yet even then we can’t be happy. The British Government has started to say that they don’t believe us. This is very bad and complicated for us because we start to get confused, we ask ourselves lot of questions. Why? Why? Why?

For me, Pride is the biggest day for the LGBTQ+ 🏳️‍🌈people. It is OUR Pride. Pride is important to the LGBTQ+ community because it allows us to show people just how happy we are to be part of this community. Normally pride is for us a big day where we march and enjoy the day with friends. We do this to show people how we are happy to be what we are!

Celebrating at Liverpool's Pride last year

In particular, Pride is important for LGBTQ+ asylum-seeking women because it is how we can express who we are in the UK. It is also a way to confirm to yourself that you are free outside of your own country. It is also important because it can help us prove our sexual orientation to the Home Office, however even with pictures they don’t believe us so we don’t know how they want us to prove it!

Usually for Pride I protest and celebrate with friends – we find joy in dancing! This year however will be different. l will just stay at home and maybe invite my girlfriend and friend’s over in the garden so we can eat and drink together. We're also taking part in Liverpool’s Virtual Pride with Refugee Women Connect 🏳️‍🌈

Happy Pride everyone!