George Reginald Freeman is the director of Pride Equality International and a former refugee who fled from Sierra Leone to Europe. He initiated the project ‘Why Me’ to increase solidarity amongst African LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees. During a 2-day photo-voice workshop, all refugees told their personal stories and shared their experiences on being a LGBTQI refugee in Europe. One participant stated: ‘…In the homeless shelter we had homophobic residents who make comments like “gays are disgusting people” and when I reported to the social worker he told me to be discreet about my sexuality, as most of the people staying are religious people…’. With PlanetRomeo Foundation’s support, the workshops were held in Spain, Belgium and France. Pride Equality International hopes to roll out their photo voice workshops in more European countries.
All testimonies were documented and a selection is published in the ‘My Voice Counts’ report. Additionally, the report contains recommendations on how to improve the situation for African LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. Pride Equality International presented the report during a human rights advocacy session in Spain and it will be shared with other shareholders also in order to improve the position of LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers.
The full testimony report ‘My Voice Counts’ can be downloaded here.