LGBT+ History Month: Leaving home to find acceptance

Report by Andrew Misra


Imagine having to leave your home, or even your country, because of your sexuality.

That's what happens every year to people around the world who are often persecuted for who they are.

As part of LGBT+ History Month, Andrew Misra has been hearing from two people in our region, who despite coming from different corners of the globe with vastly different cultures, both left their homes in search of acceptance.


Iffy

Iffy

"My name is Ifreanyiodera Ebede, I'm aged 36, I'm from Nigeria, I'm a gay man....Because of Nigeria the way they are, the concepts, they don't even accept people that are LGBT."

"When I finished college, I started having boyfriend, start having a relationship in a secret way. It's not like open, where you have a boyfriend, you go out to go and see him or say 'mummy or daddy, my boyfriend is coming over', no. The person that you're going out with will be deceiving his own family."

"I was from one police station to another, bringing disgrace as they call it, to the family. They meet you with a boy, kissing, caressing and all stuff like that, the mob will attack you...and I ended up in the hospital, so my Mum said, you have to leave for your own safety. "It's not easy for her but at the end of the day when she come close to me, one-on-one, she poured her heart out, and she's still behind me."

"When I came here, it was not too easy for me because I seek asylum and it was challenging mentally, I was depressed...but since I came to the North East they have been so supportive, all the groups that I belong to, they are very very supportive.

It's like a wound...that's not healed...I'm just managing.

Iffy

Safeenah and girlfriend

Safeenah

"My names Safeenah, I'm 21, I'm from Sunderland and I'm bisexual...when I was growing up, you know I was subjected to slurs, fights and things like that with people just not accepting anyone who wasn't straight. Growing up in the North East, it's a very traditional area. Men marry women, women marry men. You have children."

"Subconsciously I knew I wasn't heterosexual from being as young as 6, 7. But then growing up in a household where my Mother was Muslim, that wasn't even something I could consider as a life I could lead."

"Now looking back at it I wish I didn't come out, I wish that when I got into a serious relationship like I'm in now, I wish I'd just said I've got a girlfriend that's it. I think in the UK it's different, you don't necessarily have to come out, you can just say I'm in a relationship with this person."

"Things are a little bit more accepted now and the way people behave around different people of sexual minorities, gender minorities, it is different.

I accept myself now more than I ever have.

Safeenah

ReportOUT is an LGBT human rights organisation based in Gateshead.

They say they are the only such group outside of London and one of few worldwide.

The charity started in 2019 with a team of volunteers and has grown since then. Drew Dalton is the founder, and he also lectures at Sunderland Uni - he says attitudes are improving but there's still a long way to go.


Useful links to other charities and information:

  • MindOut - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Mental Health Service

  • akt - LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity working with young people aged 16 - 25

  • Galop - LGBT+ anti-violence charity


Explore more of ITV's coverage of LGBT+ History Month: