Lydia’s Story

“My idea of home over the years has not changed – it’s always been safety, peace and love. I still look for that”, Club member Lydia told us. 

At home in Lagos, family dinner was every night – “it was a big thing growing up. We always made sure we had dinner together”. Her father played country music around the house – Don Williams was his favourite. She first left home at 18 for university, before leaving Nigeria for the UK when she was in her mid-30s.

Arriving here “was devastating, due to the circumstances around [me] leaving.” Losing contact with her parents and bringing nothing from home, “just memories”, she “didn’t have that feeling of safety – I didn’t know what to do or who to confide in”. 

Being introduced to Say It Loud Club by another organisation, METRO, had a huge impact. “Walking in, there’s this feeling of safety with everyone here – there’s no negative thoughts, it feels like we’re all one. You’re just happy… you don’t have to pretend. You’re accepted. It feels like you’re safe”. 

It’s a community where “everyone is laughing and will say hello – we can eat together, laugh together and feel safe with each other. People really care about you and your wellbeing”.

Thinking of what home could be, she told us: “home would be a good house, with loved ones around me. A good community (like Say It Loud Club) and good friends. It’s not just where you sleep – you can create home in different areas of your life in your good friends, in a good supportive community and in your loved ones”.

“Everyone deserves the chance to express themselves and judge from there. Don’t just judge people on their sexuality or things they can’t control – everyone deserves the chance to express themselves and contribute to society. You never know what positive you could be missing out on”.

As we get underway with Pride Month, we’re asking for your support to continue our essential work. Just a £20 donation could cover psychological support for an LGBTQ+ refugee as we help them to recover from trauma.

Join us in our vision is for a country where LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are afforded the rights and specialist support necessary for them to build new lives in the UK, free from the trauma of their past. Donate here.