A 20-year-old university student in Cameroon was evicted by her family and forced to stop attending classes after they learned she was a lesbian.
Sign for the University of Yaoundé II (Photo courtesy of Camernews)By Steeves Winner
After the death of their mother, two sisters Angel and Beatrice (both pseudonyms) had to live with their stepmother and her children. Their father is frequently away on business.
Neither Angel, a student at the University of Yaoundé II, nor her sister got along with the stepmother, who was often hostile and sometimes violent toward them. On the few times when their father witnessed her mistreatment of them, he did nothing, although he called Angel “my darling child.”
In April, Beatrice turned against Angel and started looking into Angel’s sexual orientation. After several weeks of investigation, she told her stepmother that her sister was a lesbian.
While the father was away, the stepmother threw Angel’s belongings onto the street and told Angel pick them up and go. Angel refused. She even managed to retrieve her things and hide them in another room of the house.
“When my dad returned, she told him that I am a lesbian and that I might contaminate other children in the house. I had to leave for the sake of the other children, she said. Then she drove me out of the house again, this time with my dad watching helplessly.
“In early May, I was forced to stop classes at the university because I no longer had support from my dad. He was the only person taking care of me.
“I went to live with friends, but they eventually turned their backs because I became a burden for them.
“I asked a married older sister for help, but she told me she could not take me in, due to the instability of her relationship.”
This month, she received help from human rights defender Jean Jacques Dissoke of the LGBT advocacy organization Alternatives-Cameroon. On July 14, he took her to a second LGBT advocacy organization, Camfaids, which helped her with food and health case.
Social workers are seeking to mediate with her family in hopes of persuading them to welcome her back home.
She says that all she wants it to live in peace and to resume her studies.