Our stories: James

I am James. I come from Nigerian originally and I have lived in the UK since 2009.

I am an openly gay man and the reason why I left my country is because of circumstances surrounding my sexuality. Although I am a gay man, I lived in a heterosexual relationship and I have three children from this relationship. I was also in a same-sex relationship.

Concealing my sexuality in Nigeria was very hard and not what I wanted, but it was the only way for me to live and manage my same-sex relationship. However, eventually this relationship got me into trouble and I realised that my life was in danger. I ran away from my country.

It was very difficult for me to get used to being in the UK, especially because the culture is so different to my country of origin. This, and the fear of opening up, prevented me from seeking help for a long time – nearly 10 years. In 2018, I learnt about Say It Loud Club and went to my first appointment with Aloysius. It was the first time I have ever spoken about my sexuality openly! Finding this organisation gave a new meaning to my life and it was the beginning of my journey to live as an openly gay man.

I applied for asylum in December 2018 and I am waiting for the interviews so that I can know if I will be given protection. I want to live a normal life without fear but this depends on whether or not the UK grants me asylum. I don’t know what I will do if they don’t – I cannot go back to Nigeria as I know that I will not survive there.

My wish now is to continue with my journey of coming out with the support of Say It Loud Club. At least now I can share my own experiences with others who have been through the same struggles. It has not been easy but I am grateful for the support of all of the LGBTQ+ people that I have met.