A lovers’ quarrel last month led to death threats, a knife attack, a closeted pastor losing his job, and his lover fleeing for his life.
By Steeves Winner
After a financial dispute last month, Steeve, a pastor of the Evangelical Church of Cameroon, attacked his lover, Boris, and publicly revealed that Boris is a homosexual. In return, Boris announced Steeve’s homosexuality, which cost Steeve lost his job as a pastor for the Evangelical Church of Cameroon.
The fact that Cameroon is such an intensely homophobic society allowed the squabble to escalate into anti-gay reprisals and mutual public shaming.
The dispute began when Boris decided to cut back on financial support he was giving to Steeve and Steeve’s family. Angered by that decision, Steeve and his brothers attacked Boris and persuaded Boris’s landlady to evict him.
According to Boris, the facts are as follows:
“For two and a half years, I lived with my friend Steeve, a 34-year-old married man with two children who is an evangelical pastor in the city of Douala. We moved to a development in Douala owned by his aunt. Living there with us was Steeve’s cousin, who had no doubt about the relationship I had with Steeve.
At first, I trusted Steeve fully. I confided in him information about my bank account and gave him my Orange Money code. From my previous work at a restaurant, I gave him money that mostly went to solve his family’s problems (paying school fees for his children and sisters, helping his parents, etc.).
But Steeve behaved badly. He stole my money, got drunk and abused my trust.
Having noticed his relentless desire for more money, I decided to open a little restaurant of my own. I also told Steeve that I would not give him any more money, which led to violent arguments.
Early on Feb. 9, while I was asleep, Steeve grabbed my phone and began sending messages containing nude photos of me to my various contacts on WhatsApp and Facebook, telling them about my sexual orientation.
When I awoke and realized what he had done, we argued some more. His cousin who lived with us was joined by other cousins in the neighborhood. They beat me up. Steeve picked up a knife and cut my foot at the ankle.
[An unpleasant picture of the injury can be seen only by clicking here.]
Some neighbors responded to my cries for help. I was then taken to Laquintini Hospital by a neighbor who worked as a motorcycle taxi driver. I was in the hospital for two days. Meanwhile, Steeve and his cousins stole all the belongings from my house and my restaurant.
I took a room in a motel while awaiting the arrival of my mother, who came from Matomb village to bring me back with her.
Steeve and his family continued calling me with death threats They kept spreading the word that I am a homosexual and claimed that I wanted to seduce Steeve’s son.
When I arrived in the village on Feb. 12, Steeve and his family sent me more threatening messages and distributed my nude photos to more people.
Faced with this situation, I sent nude photos of Steeve to officials of his church and revealed his sexual orientation. On Feb. 14, Steeve was fired. After his dismissal, his family swore to kill me.
I have now lost everything. I have no home. I lost my business, which had allowed me to earn an honest living and be independent. My extended family (uncles, aunts and cousins) rejected me. I became the laughingstock of the village. “
Two LGBTI rights group have pitched in to help Boris. Alternatives-Cameroun sent one of its members to Matomb village to escort him to Yaoundé so Boris could take refuge and be fed in the shelter that’s run by Camfaids (the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS).
Alternatives-Cameroun also paid for a medical examination, treatment of Boris’s foot at the Yaoundé military hospital, and counseling.
Despite this help, Boris is still unsafe. He continues to receive death threats from the pastor and his family.
Boris hopes to qualify for asylum outside Cameroon. If you can provide financial or other support for him, please contact Steeves Winner.
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