I’ve started my email subject with « being gay: it’s a crime », it’s quite weird for everyone but unfortunately that’s the fact and the reality in my case.
I am a 34 years old Moroccan gay guy/ladyboy. I come from a very poor family in Morocco. Since an early age, I learned from my family members and neighbours that I was acting girly and that I was gay as they kept asking me to stop « acting » that way… as if I were an actor, while they didn’t know the real reasons behind the way I behave or act.
Since I was 2 years old, I used to dress with my mom’s dresses, apply make-up and play only with girls stuff. However, my family or even people around me used to beat me and punish me saying: « You are a guy, not a girl » and that I wasn’t supposed not to do that and I used to keep crying and screaming « I am not a guy, I am a girl! ».
So you can imagine how I grew up with a community that never understood me or even tried to search for a solution… the only solution was beating and punishing.
It all happened while I was young and before I even recognized myself in the meaning of the « gay » word. Years passed, I grew up and I started my studies… and there, another chapter of my miserable life started as I went out to a bigger world and I started to meet new people from different levels. Everything was changing around me, except the fact that I was gay and weird to people I met, as the accusations from my classmates turned to be worst. They started to call me with bad words, saying « You will go to hell! » and even beat me most of the time.
The scene became more horrible when I joined high college and university. I was being ignored and they treated like an embarrassing thing nobody wanted to talk to. Even my teachers treated me with a look that made me feel like a criminal all the time.
I’ve managed to keep everything inside and suffered alone as I couldn’t open up to anyone about that topic. After a while, I graduated from university (in 2004) and I started to look for a job all over Morocco, but the answer was always: « You are educated and smart, but we don’t accept gays in our place because it gives us a bad reputation ». I suffered for 2 years looking for a job without hope.
Then I accepted to work in house cleaning. Better than nothing. I had to survive after my father passed out. I found myself having no one to take care of me and my 4 brothers were ashamed of me being part of their family !
At 26 years old, whenever I went out I was stopped by the police saying « Why are you acting this way? » and calling me names. They always said that being gay was against the law and that I would have to face charges up to 5 years in jail, which pushed me to stay at home scared, until I managed, after being jobless for 2 years, to find a job online in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was really excited since I wanted to leave the community that used to hate me just for being gay.
I used to think about UAE as a place that was more understanding of personal choices and lifestyles because of its fast growing. However, 3 days after I reached Dubai, it was enough for me to realize that UAE is even worst than Morocco about gays and lesbians. I decided to let myself go and finally live my life, but I have been caught by police twice. The first time, I spent over 1 week in jail and I didn’t leave it until I signed a paper claiming I wouldn’t do it again. I’ve also been treated as a slave. The second time, I signed another paper and they kept saying: « If they catch you again you will be sent back home since being gay is against the law, tradition and religion. ».
I am living a life that isn’t mine. I am suffering all alone, all the time. I feel mentally sick and I even thought many times to put my life to an end. I wish I could find associations or organizations that could help me to move somewhere (any country) that could at least allow me to be respected and to be treated as a human being, no matter how I look or act and what my gender is. I look further to a new job, a new life, a new country. I can’t take it anymore, living this life and being afraid of being myself in UAE and also afraid to have to go back to Morocco, where it’s hard to live and survive.
Thank you so much.