My name is Nazir, I am 21, and I come from Dhaka in Bangladesh. I came to the UK in September last year.
Living at home, it was like a prison. I was bullied all the time. I couldn’t share my feelings with anyone. I felt I was living two different lives. I couldn't walk through the street holding my partner's hand. I couldn't even touch him in public because of the fear of getting us both killed.
When I tried to share my feelings with my family members I was beaten. I remember one time I coloured my hair pink, and when my parents saw it they shaved my head. Another time I was beaten very badly by my mum just because I put on make up.
When I first came to the UK, I felt so much freedom. I felt very excited and empowered. I can express my sexuality openly, I can hold another man's hands in public without any fear, and I can walk through the street holding my LGBTQ flags with pride. Living my life openly as a gay man is something I couldn't even imagine when I was in Bangladesh.
However, after I came to the UK my family found out that I was gay and disowned me. If they find me, or if I try to go home, they will kill me. I am taking medication and receiving therapy due to depression caused by these death threats and the uncertainty of my future. I still experience nightmares about what could happen to me, but I wake up and am thankful for having found real safety in the UK.
I have sought asylum, which was very difficult for me because I didn't even know what asylum meant. The whole process was complicated. Without emotional, legal, social, and financial support from Say It Loud Club and other LGBTQ+ organisations I can't even imagine where I would be.
I want to share my story to inspire people. I want to help people to come out and provide support for other LGBTQ+ people.
I am very grateful that God made me gay. I used to tell myself that God was unkind to me, but now I know that he loves me and that's why he gave me this unique orientation.
Here in the UK, I realise that being gay is not a curse, it's a gift.