My name is Ranjan. I come from Bangladesh and I belong to a Hindi community where I was rejected because of my sexuality. It was very tough growing up in my community as I constantly had to conceal my sexuality for fear of rejection and physical attacks.
Because of a long time of concealment, I did not really get to understand my identity, and this meant that I could not embrace my identity. This made me feel uncomfortable and I did not see myself as one of the members of my community.
Eventually my sexuality was discovered, and this caused me a lot of problems and because of constant threats to my life, I made the tough decision to flee my country and I came to the UK in 2011.
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived to the UK in 2011 and even though I was struggling as a result of being far away from home and family, I was at least glad that those who wanted to harm me were many miles away.
It took me time before I got the courage and trust to seek for help. My breakthrough came when I heard of the Say It Loud Club projects and when I attended an appointment. My life began to change believing that for the first time, someone had managed to listen to me.
Even though I was now aware of my rights as a gay man, I felt that I did not have the confidence to speak to a solicitor about my situation. When I spoke to Aloysius about my fears, he offered to accompany me to an immigration solicitor, and this was especially important for me because of my past experiences of rejections and abuse. It’s that emotional support that I felt I needed all along.
Even though I still have challenges, I am glad that I have a community where I feel accepted, respected, and recognised and living openly has given me my life back.