Warning: This plea for funding may trigger an emotional response. It talks about PTSD, Asylum Seekers, Refugees and suicide. The person in this story survived. If you are triggered by the topics mentioned in this plea please reach out to someone you trust to process your feelings and thoughts. If you need crisis support, please contact: 1-800-suicide. If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386. Europe: LINK FOR NUMBERS TO ALL COUNTRIES HERE .
My name is Melanie Nathan. I direct African Human Rights Coalition. We work with LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees in and from the 32 African countries which criminalize gays, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, with stringent prison terms and even the death penalty in some countries. This criminalization has given license to discrimination, persecution and violence - by families, community and state actors, alike.
Several years ago I helped a gay man in an East African country who was finally resettled by UNHCR to a European country where he continued in his quest to survive the trauma he had suffered back in his home country. I am going to keep his name private and call him Cello.
Unfortunately Cello did not receive the mental health assistance he needed.
A week ago, after 2 years in his new country, Cello reached out to me here in the United States, and told me that he "was too tired" to carry on living and asked if I would publish on my BLOG a note he had written "when the time came" and carry out the wishes he had expressed. He emailed me the note. I read it. It was heartbreaking and very real. I knew he was in serious despair and needed urgent help.
I called the Embassy of his new home country and was able to keep him communicating on chat and then on the phone with me for 3 hours until together with authorities, we were able to trace him. Help arrived at his home and when he admitted his intention he was taken immediately to hospital where he has been receiving mental health attention for the past week.
I am not an expert: I have read that suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair.
Cello is a gay man who experienced physical beatings, death threats and witnessed the brutal murder of his sister who was targeted because he is gay. He has been in unattended psychological pain and will require ongoing treatment.
I asked his permission to publish the following excerpt from his note, which asserts his plea to African Presidents: "My word to the world is that no one has more of a right to life than others or no one is important more than the other. I can’t live to see this great tears of men and woman all the time. Its too much to me. Please Uhuru Kenyatta; John Pombe Magufuli; Yoweri Kaguta Mseveni; Paul Kagame; Pierre Nkurunziza; Felix Tshisekedi among others, please I beg you people in the Name of God understand that the right to live is same equal to yours, stop killing people because sexual orientation but defend them. I pay myself a price so that you people can accept others to live."
With the hope of healing and the promise of help with survival funding, I reassured Cello that his message to these Presidents could occur with his continued activism, not as a martyr, but while alive. That his demise if accompanied by such message could serve only as a victory to the haters, who prefer that gays are eradicated.
Cello has an URGENT past rental bill that if unpaid will result in eviction and loss of his home. He will need ongoing rent while he receives this critical care.
His rent is $500 per month. I am seeking funds to help him pay his living expenses while he receives the imperative ongoing treatment to help him through.
This experience for me personally brought home a lot of what I have been noticing lately with regard to the ongoing mental health needs of asylum seekers, so poorly treated. I know Cello’s story and what led him to exile. Its horrific. There are so many LGBTI Africans enduring this torture as we speak and so many more will ultimately exile and land in Countries only to have their pain and horror - never forgotten - yet unattended. Asylum is not where it ends. I am seeing that the granting of asylum and refugee resettlement, while a new beginning, does not ditch the pain of the past. The physical persecution ends but the psychological persecution persists.
I truly believe that without financial help, Cello's survival chances are dramatically reduced.
Please help me keep my promise to Cello when I told him his life had so much value to me and the world and that I promised him it would get better if he gave this a chance.
MANY THANKS. Also note African HRC receives tax deductible donations at www.africanHRC.org/donate
Picture of LGBTQI Refugees exiled by violence against gays at Kakuma Camp, Kenya. Stories at www.oblogdee.blog
If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call 1-800-suicide or specific for LGBTQI in USA: Call TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) - Resources: Crisis Centers - Europe: LINK TO ALL COUNTRIES HERE .