By Erin Royal Brokovitch
As if he were a character in a tragic soap opera, star athlete Thierry Essamba keeps suffering new varieties of homophobic abuse.
After he was expelled from Cameroon’s national track team on suspicion of homosexuality, his family warned him that he would have to find a new place to live. On Aug. 28, he was thrown out of the family home in Yaoundé.
A friend was visiting him when Essamba’s older brother abruptly appeared and ordered both men to leave.
Thierry said the event was as humiliating as when he was expelled from the national track team on May 24 in a stadium filled with spectators who had come to see the team compete. On Aug. 28, he said, his whole neighborhood looked on as his brother forced him out of the home and shouted, “Go do your dirt elsewhere.”
The “dirt” that day consisted of allowing a friend to visit to chat with him and cheer him up.
To put an end to the humiliating scene caused by his brother, Essamba left the house immediately without even retrieving his belongings.
He later spoke with his mother by telephone and learned that she saw nothing wrong with what his brother did.
The next day, Essamba was still in shock. He felt abandoned, alone in the world, that life was no longer worth living, Leaving him alone after that conversation was agonizing, for fear of what he might do.
Essamba now fears what fate has in store for him, although he accepts the need to be a focus of public attention, to meet people and give interviews. But his daily life has become a nightmare.
A female friend has loaned him a temporary place to sleep, but no one knows how long that arrangement can last.
What is left to say? Can no one help save the life of a track star who has been laid low by homophobia?
The author of this article is an LGBT rights activist in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym.
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