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A Moving Story About Escaping Gay Conversion Therapy in an African Country

February 13, 2018

"If you are a citizen of an African country, often there is no escape - as sexuality and gender identity is criminalized and families collude with authorities in state sanctioned persecution" Melanie Nathan

 

"I was quite aware of the horrors of these gay and religious conversion camps. The leaders operate the camps around grim parts of Somalia and Kenya. They subject their captives to severe beatings, shackling, food deprivation and other cruel practices. It usually involves a rigorous Islamic curriculum. Those who fail to cooperate, make adequate progress or try to escape could possibly be killed." Mahad Olad

 

Here is a must read story from the Ithacan - and from my vantage point let me say as harrowing and as bad as this story is, this young person is very lucky that he was an American Citizen and now over the age of 18.   Imagine not having the American Embassy or some organization to reach out to?   At African Human Rights Coalition we receive pleas for help every single day, where people face familial and community persecution, just as this young person did. In most instances, the physical abuse is already taking place.  I am asking anyone touched by this story to please consider donating to African HRC, as we struggle in our fight to shelter and feed as many LGBTI people suffering similar, if not worse fates. We the global LGBTQI community are the only family that many need to be able to rely on.

Here is the story:

 

Escaping gay conversion therapy in Kenya: By Mahal Olad Published: February 7, 2018 

After moving hundreds of miles away from home for college, I was looking forward to taking a vacation with my family the summer after my first year. My freshman year of college had been especially hard due to both being far from my family and from all the stress that typically comes with starting college.

 

My decision to pursue postsecondary education in New York came with the price of leaving my family behind in Minnesota. It was emotional and tumultuous. I, like many first-generation students from an immigrant background, struggled to reconcile two frequently opposing desires: devotion to family and educational mobility. So when my mother invited me to come on a vacation to Kenya to visit our relatives, I thought it would be a good chance to spend some time together, reunite with family we hadn’t seen in awhile and explore East Africa.

 

Little did I know that my mother had other plans in store for me.I hail from an extremely conservative Muslim background, but over the past years, I have come to realize that I don’t consider myself Muslim anymore. Not only did I have to hide from my family that I am an atheist, but also that I am gay. My family is Somali by ethnicity. We fled to Kenya to escape the civil war in Somalia around 1991. This wouldn’t be my first time going back to Kenya, since I have visited the country a few times before, but I was looking forward to seeing my relatives and spending some time there.We arrived in Kenya in late May 2017. The very first night there, my mother told me this would not be a summer vacation. She told me that I would not be returning to the U.S. at the end of the summer as planned.

 

She asked me to withdraw from college so that I could be placed under the control of a group of sheiks whose goal would be to reform my religious beliefs and reorient my sexuality. Somehow, my family had found out my secret and had prepared this elaborate ruse to get me to Kenya.

  READ THE FULL STORY HERE.


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