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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in SIERRA LEONE...
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Mohamed Salieu Kamara (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex readers on 15/04/2014
Good day, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure to the world challenge.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2011, when David Cameron, the British prime minister issued a statement at a world summit to tell African leaders they should support gay rights or risk losing funds from the UK government, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT in the west countries have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many youthful people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to defend human rights at home.

At the present, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I am submitting my local and International Journal of Area Studies with respect, accepting, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and vital issues we must address together to reach a global harmony that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens all over.

The primary issue goes to the heart of the subject. Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 67 years ago, the governments that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT area. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 67 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people or their sympathizers to go scot-free. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek safe haven in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withdrawn from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we in each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behaviour, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.
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Mohamed Salieu Kamara (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 26/07/2013 +0
Gay and Lesbians have their rights also. The rise in homosexuality, Lesbianism and bisexualism may seem to many a new way to express erotic Love. These sexual practices are not new. People who practice such sexual acts are now coming out because of the erosion of societal taboos, globalization and the freedom to do what one likes as long as it does not affect others. Because of medical improvements, transgender practices are now more frequent.

The trouble about these forms of sexual practices is that it is frowned upon by most members of society on the grounds that it is unnatural, kinky on an outrageous way to express sexual acts. The reaction of people on those who carry out such sexual acts is sometimes disastrous.

We all have our likes and dislikes. Going to great lengths in expressing our individual likes and dislikes in uncalled-for and should not forget that it takes all sorts to make the world; a reason why all should not be expected to behave or do things the same way.

The discrimination, stigma, harassment and attacks of gays, lesbians and bisexual are sometimes unbearable. What two or more consenting adults decide to do in private should not be the business of anybody. The freedom we want for ourselves should be the freedom that we should want for others, homosexuals and lesbians not excepted. The media, religious bodies some civil society associations and organizations sometimes condemn same sex relationship and marriages. News of killing and molesting of Gays and lesbians is rampant.

It could be recalled that the head of Gays organizations – “Pride Equality”, a friend of mine in Sierra Leone LGBT activist, a Sierra Leonean activist recently escaped a murder attempt when someone attempted to stab him with a fragment of glass.

With all of these recorded events, when will people wake up to the call of gay and lesbians rights and hearken to the cry of activist? As long as what gays, Lesbians and bisexuals practice do not affects us, we should let them be.
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Mohamed Salieu Kamara (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 26/07/2013 +0
Same-sex through relationship. Throughout history `gays and bisexuals lesbians have been made fun of persecuted or killed .They have been branded as sexual perverts and filthy. People who are against same sex relationships should know that it is the make-up of people in same sex relationship to be what they are.

Same sex relationships should not affect those who think there is only one accepted way of sexual relationships between a male and a female. If these people in same sex relationship do not go out of the way to condemn heterosexuals why should gays and lesbians and bisexuals condemn.

Sex, they say, is hormonal. If ones hormonal impulse directs ones to go for the same sex, who are we to say it should not be that way? It is time the people of the world wake up and realizes that sexual behavior cannot be controlled. Either you are what you are or something else when it comes to sexual behavior.

Those who support and advocate for same sex relationship are considered odd or eccentric and sometimes downright crazy.

Let me state that gay rights activists do what they do in defense of the rights of gay people as long as such sexual practice do not infringe on the rights of others.

People against same-sex relationships think that such relationships are sinful, harmful, immortal and unnatural.

It is the business of same sex couples to worry about that. If we are living in a global village and a free world, we should give those in same-sex relationships the freedom we want for ourselves, as long as such freedom do not affect others.
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M S Kamara (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 17/06/2013 +5

My work and activities with different local and international organisations raised my awareness about people’s rights, especially gay (homosexual) rights. There is no law that prohibits gay practice in Sierra Leone. Our politicians do not do a thing to promote gay rights.

The very few, like me, who are brave enough to advocate for gay right expose ourselves to persecutions, threats, attacks, provocations and ridicule.

I became embolden in the fight for gay rights when David Cameron, the British prime minister issued a statement at a world summit to let African leaders support gay rights or risk losing funds from the UK Government. I realised that the advocacy for gay rights has reached international proportions. I intensified my gay rights activities but came under more pressure from people who hate gays.

Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (SLLAGA) who was brutally raped and murdered in her office on the 28/29 September 2004. She had spent time in Southern Africa as a refugee from hostilities in Seirra Leone where she used her time to learn how to ‘mobilise in a hostile environment’ This is what she did on her return home, setting up SLLAGA.

Fanny Ann made a submission to the UN Committee on Human rights at the Geneva meeting in April 2004 which discussed the Brazilian Resolution, which would have acknowledged sexual orientation as a legitimate human right. In her presentation she highlighted the violence and state-sponsored oppression that lesbian and gay people face in many parts of Africa. She concluded:

I now realised why people and groups that try to advocate gay rights quickly abandon their programs and activities.

There are many vigilante religious fundamentalists so be very careful.
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George Reginald Freeman (user currently living in SIERRA LEONE) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 24/06/2010 +15
My name is George Reginald Freeman. We lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face violence and exploitation at home, in our schools, communities, clubs, churches and street. For me violence has become a way of life. It hurts my body, mind and family because it is kept invisible. Violence and exploitation goes together which remains strong in my community. Like most of the world Sierra Leone is a very homophobic place. Homophobia does not only lead to the perpetuation of myths and stereotype about LGBT people, but more importantly to the creation of an environment in which we LGBT people feel vulnerable and unsafe.

I want to bring to your attention the dangers faced by LGBT people in my beloved Sierra Leone and throughout Africa. It is an issue which most African leaders do not like to address as we are considered ‘as a waste in society and considered deader than the dead’. In fact, many African leaders do not want to even acknowledge that we exist. Their denial has many disastrous results for our community.

We do exist. But because of the denial of our existence, I live in constant fear of the police and officials who have arrested and detained me several times simply because I am a gay.

I live in fear as my family has disowned me and kicked me out of the family house, as it is very common for LGBT people when their identity becomes known. I was mocked and a lot of people gathered around me provoked, mocked and disgraced me publicly which make me ashamed and feel shy after the death of my mother in December 24th 1999, I was a street child for five years.

I was abused, neglect, dejected and looked upon by the society. As street child things were very hard as there are no shelters during rainy seasons, even a meal per day one must be lucky to get one. In order for me to survive under those difficult circumstances, I was forced by hunger to do some menial jobs like, washing plates for cookery shops, collecting garbage’s from the gutter, carrying foodstuffs for people in the market stalls. Despite all these inhuman and degrading treatment I had in life, I was more determined never to let this background affect my future, as my vision was to help other LGBT people like myself to become better individuals in society. I used the money I earn from menial job to up keep and educate myself.

I believe that my background as a street child really gave me a better edge to express profound empathy towards my unfortunate brothers and sisters (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) in Sierra Leone. As a former street child who went through all the difficulties in life, I believe I'm in the better position to salvage the predicament of street children and fellow LGBT people in my society. As I felt how they felt, and think alike of solutions that will enhance our status in life, I am still voiceless as I am neglected in the society.

The life I lived and experienced gained as a former street child was far more degrading. Due to the hard and bitter life I crawled through as a former gay street child, everyday came with a different dimension of difficulties that only a determined and focused mind can sail through and advocate for my other LGBT brothers and sisters as we are the silence and neglected voices in our society. As the person who sailed through many challenges in life, I strongly believe that I'm more than capable to identify the problems faced and solutions to make a visible change in our lives.

I live in fear within my community, where I face constant harassment and violence from neighbors and other people on the street; just because of my sexual orientation is gay. Their homophobic attacks go unpunished by the police and other authorities, further encouraging their discriminatory and violent attitude.

When African leaders, especially Sierra Leoneans use culture, tradition, religion and societal norms to deny our existence they send a message that tolerates discrimination, violence and overall indignity.

There are no accesses to health care facilities for LGBT people in Sierra Leone. I have to hide my sexual identity for me to attend school. I was not accepted into any University in Sierra Leone, so I did a correspondence course with the Institute of Commercial Management London where I acquired a Diploma in International Business Communication and Business Management and Administration.

We LGBT people in Sierra Leone are being called as a waste in society and a nuance in our community. “Should we sit down and allow the trend to continue?” This is a question that lingers in my mind which prompted me to strongly come out to advocate and defend the rights of other LGBT young people which I strongly believe will not only salvage the predicament of us LGBT people, but will give us solution and hope in life. I want to join hands with other LGBTQ activist so that we can fight for the inclusion and liberation of our LGBT human rights and the emancipation of hate crimes, violence and discrimination in Africa, especially Sierra Leone.

I intend to advocate by breaking down the stereotypes and creating a more understanding world for inter-racial, inter-religious and queer couples worldwide. I want to promote understanding, respect and equality for inter-racial, inter-religious and LGBT people worldwide.

I urge LGBT people, youth development activists, local and international human rights organization, LGBT Organizations, LGBT philanthropists, Civil Society Movements and Governmental agencies to break the chains of violence and exploitation so that we can live in peace, love, dignity and respect.

“I want to assure you that change start with a small intention, being put into action is realised far beyond our imagination”

George Reginald Freeman – WhyCantWeGetMarried.Com West Africa Regional Coordinator
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