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“It’s tough when you spend so many years hiding who you are.”

"It's tough when you spend so many years hiding who you are”.

Brian is 25 years old, he's Ugandan, but a few years ago he fled to Kenya because of his homosexuality. The difficulties in his daily life are unfortunately the same, but - unlike in Uganda - in Kenya it is not illegal to be gay.

It is not easy for Brian to tell his story, but he decided to do it because as a child he would have wanted to know that he was not alone.

"I heard what people said in my village about homosexuals and hoped not to be one of them, but by the time I was in fifth grade I felt that I was different from my classmates. I prayed hard for it to pass. But it didn't happen, it wasn't a temporary feeling.

So, a few years later I ran away from home and moved in with some friends. My family looked at me as if I was no longer the same person, as if I was no longer a human being.

Things got worse for Brian in 2014 when he took part in a Pride parade. On that occasion, a local newspaper published an article about the homosexual community, as well as a photo of Brian and a text about him. A few days later his computer was hacked. That's when he decided to flee to Kenya, because things were getting worse for him and he felt at risk.

His cloth wristband, however, still has the colors of Uganda, the country where he was born. Even if Uganda is no longer his home.

Many people ask him why he migrated: "Why did you come here if there is no war in your country?".

"I usually say that I came here to study. Since 2015, together with some friends, we decided to join a group of homosexual activists: from that moment on, my life got better because I realized that I wasn’t alone and that there were other people with stories just like mine. This helped me to accept myself and strengthen my self-esteem.

Today, after attending a course at ActionAid in Nairobi, I am campaigning with other activists to combat HIV. We often organize small events to discuss how to change the negative perception that many people have of homosexuals. There is still a lot to do, but I am confident.”