No safe haven: gay and transgender Africans fleeing persecution at home attacked in refugee camps

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05/24/2021

When Bijoux Ferrazza realised she was transgender, she took a good look around her. Transgender women are nowhere to be seen in Cameroon. Every once in a while, they make headlines, but it was usually because they have been arrested, beaten up or murdered. Bijoux weighed her options and concluded she only had one: if she wanted to live publicly as a woman – in other words, if she wanted to survive – she had to leave her country. She did not want to meet the same fate as Cameroonian social media star Shakiro, who, alongside another transgender woman, was arrested on a charge of homosexuality and sent to prison. “I have decided to fight. If I wait for my country to let me be myself, I will be waiting for decades, for a century,” Ms Ferrazza, a 19-year-old science student, told the Telegraph in a video call.

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