A young gay man was expelled from home in Yaoundé after his family learned that the woman he claimed was his girlfriend was actually just a friend — and a lesbian.
By Steeves Winner
Koko (a pseudonym), age 27, lived at home, his homosexuality unknown by his family, He lived discreetly and sometimes passed off his lesbian friend Harty (also a pseudonym) as if she were his girlfriend.
Harty also lived with her family, who also were in Yaoundé. But one day her sexual orientation was exposed and she was forced to leave her family home.
Not knowing where to go, she contacted Koko, who agreed to receive her at his family‘s home. Both of them shared his room there.
All went well until Koko’s cousin came for a visit and fell for Hardy. Whenever Koko was away, the cousin harassed her to have sex with him. To make him stop, she told him, “I don’t do that. I am a lesbian. Men do not interest me.“
The cousin told the whole family what Harty had said. The family was upset. They said, “If you are lesbian, then Koko must be gay. Both of you have to leave this home. We do not allow homosexuals here.”
When Koko returned home, he learned what had happened.He begged his family to let him stay, but they refused. Koko and Harty were evicted and forced out onto the street.
Homeless, they contacted the Camfaids LGBTI rights group, which welcomed them,
After an investigation and interviews by the leaders of the organization, both were accepted as residents of the safe house that Camfaids runs. They can stay there for up to three months while they figure out what their next steps will be.
Hardy has found a job waitressing at a snack bar. Koko doesn’t yet know what he will do.
Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.