Gay Rwandan woman says government can’t protect LGBTQ+ refugees: ‘They won’t be safe’

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04/19/2023

Like many in Rwanda, Maria was raised Christian, which made it even harder for her to accept her sexuality. She recalls spending “a lot of time in churches trying to pray it away”. “I was really ashamed and I hated it,” she tells PinkNews. “My family thought it was a phase.” It wasn’t until Maria (not her real name) grew up and moved abroad that she found a way to accept and embrace her sexuality. Eventually, she returned to Rwanda, determined to drive change for the next generation. That change is happening, albeit slowly. While increased LGBTQ+ visibility is largely a good thing, Rwandan society being more aware of the existence of queer people can have negative consequences. “People abroad have started to come out and this is putting a lot of stress on LGBT+ people in Rwanda,” Maria says.

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