Imagine the love of your life. The person who you are snuggled up to right now. Who you track on their way to work to ensure they arrives safe. The person who you will dine with tonight in your warm kitchen. The person who you can't wait to go to a concert with on Saturday. Many of us have that and more. BUT - you live in a place where your LOVE is considered criminal to such an extent that you can go to jail if outed and even put to death. THEN BAM you are outed! You literally have to drop everything and escape out a back window because there is a mob at your door. You don't have time to grab your important docs. You grab mobile phone, luckily an ID at hand, and you run! With your LOVE, for your life.
After tenuous attempts to find safe shelter, you do, but then the Government passes a law that targets the safe shelter and shuts it down under threat of arrest of residents and the human rights defenders who manage it. So now another 15 people are on the run, for a second time.
So the couple decide to try other shelters only to find all are under threat and taking mitigation measures and suddenly there are hundreds of LGBTQI+ people, forcible displaced, with nowhere to go, not to mention the many thousand still to be outed in the near future. The Couple - a real couple who we cannot name. And we also cannot name second countries for fear of exposure:
The couple decide they have no choice but to leave the country. There are no choices. There is no VISA to a safe-equality-accepting country. There is NO MONEY. There is the shirt on the back and an ID document, a phone and charger, and that is all. They contact various global organizations as local organizations are shut down, have no funds, or cannot provide exile related help. There are few to NONE.
The couple takes 2 weeks to move through a complex situation to decide their path - and several borders later, only one is permitted into the destination and the other sent back - all the way back - more money - for reasons we will not expose.
IMAGINE THAT!....... The one keeps going with a plan for the one sent back ..... what an awful decision for any couple to make in such short time ... but the decision may be life saving, ultimately for both... it is like picking which frying pan to jump into - the one with green bubbles or the one with blue bubbles?
Both members of the couple are still in transition - in desperate need of funds to keep this process going. These funds can be directed through AHRC, as we continue to mitigate the horror of this story, through best we can, unfunded, with direct advocacy on their behalf and small sums along the way. UPDATED: One is in safe hands of UNHCR protection staff, albeit in a country that may be considered a hostile host country. Now the complexity and story of survival continues and it could be for years for this person for advocacy, food, shelter and more..... Let us pray the couple is reunited. The solutions are few and far between: WE NEED HELP
SPECIAL PATHS BEFORE SUCH EMERGENCY ARISES
SPECIAL PATHS FOR LGBTQI+ IN THESE SITUATIONS
SIGNATURES ON PETITIONS HERE and elsewhere
CORPORATIONS TO COME OUT AND FUND THE REAL DOERS - not the chatters - after all corporations are still making money in these venues. Apple has a store in Ghana, Google and Facebook are everywhere... NETFLIX is streaming and talking to Kenya about pulling LGBTQI+ content. Its time to shake to up! "KUK en BETAAL" as we say in South Africa .....
By Melanie Nathan, March 29, 2023 nathan@AfricanHRC.org