Do you know what how it feels to suffocate?
I always get anxiety attacks when I step out. I grew up in an Islamic household. Thankfully we were relatively liberal, but fundamentally very Muslim. I went to a Christian high school where homosexuality was punishable by beating and expulsion. As high schoolers do, we explored. I watered a seed I didn’t know was there and it grew. Even when I tried to cut it off it’d just grow back. I realized that I was different from other people. I saw things differently and wasn’t afraid to share my perspectives.
Did you know that LGBTQIA+ youth are 5 times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual youth? I got name called and harassed. It had me contemplating suicide. I remember I used to climb to the last floor of the building and look down. I’d imagine how it’d feel like to fall. To just let go and be free. I didn’t let go, or better yet, I was being held back. My friend was the first member of my community. She wasn’t queer, but that shouldn’t even matter. I met the second member of my community in university. His honest straightforwardness was refreshing and genuine. Entirely devoid of any prejudice. He grounded me.
As I grew through university and afterwards, I realized that having a community helped me water my seed into a tree that gives shade and fruits to those beneath it. This is home. This is where I belong. Where I can be the best version of myself. A community is where I can breathe.
Do you know what it feels like to suffocate? I don’t. I have the happy humans and their humanist meetings, I’ve got LGBT+ Rights Ghana and their support and most importantly of all, I have my new family who loves and supports me. All these safe spaces let me be myself without any prejudice or hate. I feel complete.
The boy behind the flowers