I fled Uganda in 2014

Because I am bisexual. This, like homosexuality, is forbidden in Uganda. The Ugandan parliament adopted anti-gay legislation in 2013. An openly gay or bisexual person now risks a life sentence in prison. Simply talking about homosexuality is punishable. I lived in fear every day, faced a lot of danger. I sought protection, but couldn’t find it anywhere or with anyone.

When people know about your sexual orientation and try to protect you, they put themselves at risk

Homo- and bisexuals often lose everything when they come out of the closet or if their sexual orientation is discovered. Work, friends, colleagues, family and neighbours. And if those people know about your sexual orientation and try to protect you, they put themselves at risk. You have to tell the police if you see or hear that people have homosexual contacts. Not sharing this knowledge is a crime.

I left and had to leave everything behind in Uganda, all for my safety. My family, friends, my life as a musician. Even my own children. But I simply couldn’t stay any longer. I couldn’t lie to myself any longer. I trusted some very close friends and told them about my sexual orientation. But that increased the dangers they and I could face. I wanted so badly to be safe, in a country where I could be myself.

In the Netherlands I hoped to build a safe life, without the danger of violence related to my sexual orientation. But my sense of insecurity did not decrease when I arrived at Schiphol airport. The detention centre there is an uncomfortable and almost inhumane place. Practically a prison.

I didn’t dare say that I fled because of my sexual orientation

I was held there and definitely did not dare say that I fled because of my sexual orientation. I was terrified. That’s why I remained silent when the police questioned me, I did not trust anyone. Imagine if the Dutch police would have told Uganda about me…

Ultimately I ended up in different asylum centres through the asylum procedure. I’m currently still talking to the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) and a lawyer in order to get a residence permit for the Netherlands. I so badly hope that I am allowed to build a life and a future here. I would like to get a job and to study Political Science. I am very interested in politics and how it works, how political systems were created and how they function. Precisely because so much does not function in African political systems.

And now I am an Afrojazz singer-songwriter and play guitar. In Uganda I often performed with my band. We toured the entire country. Making music and singing is what keeps me going here in the Netherlands, too. It cheers me up and relaxes me in stressful times such as these. My dream is to make music, sing and tour here in the Netherlands as I did in Uganda. That’s why I’m working hard to create a band.

The Netherlands receives many requests for asylum at the moment, due to all the wars and insecurities around the world. I understand that not everyone can be allowed in. But I do think that you should keep treating humans as humans, regardless of where they come from. Many refugees and asylum seekers are handled harshly, surely that is not the way to treat each other? Let’s all be a bit nicer to one another.