Our stories: Baganza
My name is Baganza. I was originally from Uganda, where I was living a normal life just any other young, ambitious woman. I was looking forward to building my life, and with a great, loving family, I couldn't see anything that would hinder my dreams.
My situation changed when I began to realise that I was a lesbian at the age of 17, while at college. This is when my life turned upside down. In a short period of time, my family had rejected me and my life was in danger.
Fearing for my life, I fled the country and came to the UK in October 2012. Confused and scared, I had no idea of what to do. Eventually I claimed for asylum on grounds of sexuality, but the experience has been like another form of torture.
Going through asylum and having to explain my sexuality to a stranger was the hardest thing I have ever faced. I had never lived openly in Uganda because I was afraid, so I grew up concealing my sexuality.
The first time I ever spoke about my sexuality was in an asylum interview!
The challenges that I have faced have been especially hard, especially having to keep trying to convince the British authorities that I am a lesbian. I know who I am, but as a lesbian woman seeking protection I have to keep explaining how and why I am a lesbian.
On the other hand, living in the UK has given me the chance to meet some of the most brave people in the world. Being a member of the Say It Loud Club has not only given me a sense of community but also a sense of belonging. Here I am now able to live openly and have a good understanding of my sexuality, despite the struggles with asylum.
Sometimes I am able to smile because of the LGBTQ community I have here in the UK.
My hope for the future is to become a campaigner for LGBTQ people. I have lived that experience so have a good understanding of what LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees go through.
For now, all I need is my freedom - to be recognised as a refugee and to be able to rebuild my life.