This story is about three lesbian women from Ghana, who have both found self-worth and confidence in sticking up for their rights since joining the community platforms. In this story they talk about their experiences and how they have used this confidence to take a stand for themselves.
Two years ago, when I was going through depression, I thought that I had lost it all and I almost took my life. I was facing stigma but since I joining the community platform and being in touch with others like me, I was able to gather a lot of courage. Now I don’t hide my sexual orientation. If anyone asks me, I tell them I’m a lesbian, and I’m not shy about it. I feel so proud. Now I have so much boldness to go out. When there is an LGBT program, I go there. I don’t hide anymore.
I’ve learned how to develop myself, how to come out as an LGBT person, how to compose myself since the society doesn’t accept us, how to comfort ourselves out there. We went for a self-development program, and we were taught about how to write our CVs, how to present ourselves for interviews and how to speak out. I tried, it really helped me. I went for a normal interview this one time. Sometimes when you go, they ask you about your sexual orientation. I was able to tell the person that my orientation doesn’t really matter on the work I’m coming to do, what they should look forward for is what I can offer. They were was so impressed with my response, and I got the job!
I was in an abusive relationship and it was very difficult for me to come out. I put it in the platform for a discussion. I took so much advise from them. I was able to pull out from that relationship without having any problems and was able to get over it very quickly. My partner used to torture me a lot. From the advice, it’s not something that is a normal ‘lover’s thing’ and no one has a right to abuse the other. If this has been going on, and on, that means the person doesn’t really love me, I had to push myself and pull away from the relationship and that really helped me. I find myself in a much better place now.
I used to work for a company, but because of how I dressed, they asked ask me to leave. They did not ask directly, but people would tease me all the time. When I was in the office or near to the office, they wanted me to wear a dress. I don’t care for that. So, I decided to quit and work on my passion of becoming a fashion designer. Now I am enrolled in a course and that is what I find happiness in. I don’t want anyone to control my life, but working on my own and for myself, I can do whatever I want to do.
I have realized that, “Hey, I can live my life any way I want, and still be in the society and be accepted as I am.” Each and every day at, I felt uncomfortable forced to dress in something that did not represent me. I’m a graphic designer and that stifled my creativity. I started my own company and I think that has been one big jump, because it wasn’t easy for me to open my work, and not knowing that I’m receiving a pay monthly is stressful but I have not regretted it once.
Sometimes I even have a job for the LGBT organization and through that I’ve learned so much too. You know, working with rainbows doesn’t really come like you’re supposed to just slush the rainbow somewhere. You need to go through a concept to bring rainbow out of something nice. I’m improving all my skillsets here. You need people you can trust for your documents to go out and all of that. I’ve been able to get contacts with people networks that is building a base of allies in this sector too. It may not be the police, but it counts.