'I was only able to embrace my LGBTQ+ identity after moving to Wales'

Credit: ITV Wales News

People from black and ethnic minority people who identify as LGBTQ+ have told ITV News they were only able to embrace their identity after moving to Wales.

It comes as BAME Pride is set to take place virtually on Saturday 22 August - for only the second time in Wales.

24-year-old Jia Wei Lee moved to Cardiff from Malaysia, where they hid their sexuality from their family for seven years because of the stigma of being LGBTQ+.

''In Malaysia it is really tough for me to be who I am, so when I came to Wales and saw that everyone was so accepting, I cried immediately. I felt like I was a bird trapped in a cage and I just want to be free and I can't have the freedom to do that in Malaysia.''

Numair Masud, who is 30 years old, shares a similar experience. He grew up in Pakistan in a Muslim family before seeking asylum in the UK.

''It's controversial being a gay man in Pakistan because it is a criminal offence.''

Numair says Wales should embrace its diversity.

He recalls coming out to his Muslim parents with fondness, but was only able to fully embrace who he was until he came to Wales.

''My mum came to accept the fact that she loves me and it doesn't matter. My father, all he said was as long as you're happy and as long as you have money. That's all he cared about, my happiness and my money.''

''I didn't really come out to people because I didn't quite know how, but it was a lot easier for me to come out in Wales because I challenged myself and I needed to tell people who I am.''

Numair is part of Glitter Cymru - a group for BAME people who identify as LGBTQ+ Credit: Numair Masud

The journey hasn't always been easy, which can be the case for many people from BAME backgrounds who are also part of the LGBTQ+ community.

In an exclusive poll for ITV News, 23% people from black and ethnic minority people said they faced discrimination because of their sexuality - compared to 13% of people from white backgrounds.

We're all just human, our desire to love and to be loved is so inherent in all of us, labels shouldn't matter.

Numair Masud

However, both Jia Wei and Numair praise Wales - the country which has accepted them as their own, no matter their sexuality.

''Wales really needs to value how multicultural it is and how diverse it is. A lot of people believe that diversity doesn't quite work because cultures don't quite mix, but that's just not true.''

He is the treasury of Glitter Cymru, a group for BAME people who are LGBTQ+, and said he is looking forward to attending a virtual BAME Pride on August 22. It is only the second of its kind in Wales and says the right for people to express themselves is ''fundamental to their freedom.''

Jia Wei will also be attending and is hopeful for future generations.

''Don't worry about anything, hakuna matata, just be yourself, nobody will judge and that is beautiful. I believe in my lifetime there will be positive change.''