Lucky: Full Interview
Interviewed by Billy Frugal
8th April 2019
BF: Hello, this is Billy Frugal; it is the 8th of April 2019, and we are doing this interview as part of the West Yorkshire Queer Stories project.
L: My name is [Lucky] and I am a ‘him’, born on the 1st of July 1994 and living in Halifax. And I am gay. So today I am here to share my life experience with West Yorkshire Queer Stories. I am originally from Zimbabwe. That’s where I grew up and I lived the rest of my life there up until I came to the UK in 2016. Um… in 2010 when I lost my father, I went through a lot of troubles and I was very concerned and this is when I met my partner. So when we met we used to talk and we did not establish a really good relationship back then. It went on to 2011 – we started spending some time together but, in 2012, we started our real relationship, which was very hidden from my family because I had so much fear living in a community that does not tolerate gay people, and from a family that is very cultural and not understanding when it comes to about sexuality. I lived my life in hiding throughout – I felt a real sort of torture from my family when they found out about my sexuality – that was back in 2016. I lived with my uncle in Zimbabwe and the torture was really bad for me as things that I experienced, sometimes I really find hard to share with, or to come out about clearly about what happened because there was so much events that went on in my life which were so traumatising.
But today, as I am here, I want to talk about the life experience that I had. Having a partner is one of the most exciting things that I felt, and having to hide that partner was one of the most things that got me so depressed because I had so much fear of how the community would charge me and what sort of punishment and torture would I face from my own family. The worst fear that I had was being disowned by the only relatives that I had after I had lost my parents. I felt some torture in the year of 2016 from my family that I lived with; that was my uncle and my auntie in Zimbabwe; which led me to fled into South Africa. When I arrived in South Africa, yes, I had some extended family in South Africa.
The painful part is that all they wanted was for me to live how they wanted. In a way that even when I got to South Africa the only promised thing was for me to stop having partners with male, which is something that I couldn’t do because that is who I am. I tried to compromise myself, to make them happy, but deep down I didn’t do what they wanted because I had my ongoing relationship that was going on. And when they found out about it, the punishment became severely – um, being deprived of my human rights, not being given enough food, it was real torture that I did not want to talk about or share with anybody. To that extent that I got help from my auntie one day in South Africa – who helped me to come to the UK.
Yes... um… in the UK I’ve found it hard to really open up about my life – I really found it really hard because this was the first time experience now where I am able to talk to people, to open up about my sexuality, and at the same time I haven’t had the experience of how I would live in the community. But now with the acceptance and coming to terms of how much I’ve relaxed my body, how much I have got used to this society, and I am able to start building good relationships. I have been going out meeting people, which is the first thing that I wanted to do – this was the first real thing of my life; this is how I am, and now that I am living it I feel much, much better, even though there are some traumatising events that I think of, especially the abuse that I faced with family.
And having to be separated from my partner was one of the most painful things. I am even now in search of willing and hoping that one day we might meet again, and if we meet I am hoping and willing wherever he is, he truly knows that I adore him and love him so much. And with the support and love that he showed my during my hard times I truly wish him all the best where he is, And as for me right now, I won’t say I have let go of him, but I’m starting to build my new life; as much as much as I’m building my new life, I am hoping and willing that I’ll find somebody who has got a loving and a caring heart who I will share the rest of my life with, and that is one of my most ultimate goals that I wish for myself.
And having to come to Leeds… um... is one of the best experiences because, here in Leeds, I have seen a diverse of multicultural people, and in the UK, the way they approach towards gay people it’s more lovely – I feel so relaxed even now doing this interview. I’m so relaxed and I’m happy with my life – and yes, it’s a challenge coming to talk about the life experience that I’ve felt – sometimes, whenever I have to open up about my life, I really feel sad. I really feel depressed because of the traumatising events that happened while I was back home. It was not really and easy journey to go through. It was one of the most difficult things – you know, when you want to live a life which is so feared, but the community and your own family sees things differently. It really becomes a challenge and, in fact, at that point you’ve got nobody to support you. The only support that you’re relying on is the one that’s discouraging you, that’s giving you a hard time, that’s abusing you, that’s making you feel all the sad things that you’re going through. So it is one of the most traumatising events that I’ve ever went through in my life.
But right now, I’ve got myself engaged in different groups called the Leeds Survivor Crisis, which is one of the most… It is catering for the LGBT and it’s a very mental-supporting group, that each and every time I go there there’s always some sort of mental growth. And I feel really connected to the members, and I’ve found family. Now the biggest challenge that I am having, not even a challenge sort of, but one of my most ultimate goal is to build a good relationship with somebody that I will trust, someone who I will love, and that is one thing that I shall tell people. And sometimes living in Africa and trying to come out there about your sexuality, there are a lot of consequences that you go through. There are a lot of humilation that people pours towards you and some will talk the way they want, some will promise you a lot of bad things, some will even tell you that they will send you to the authorities, which is… Our African culture does not understand how people have to live. They have got their own set of rules that they want us to live by.
But that’s not how we have to be. You have to live a life whereby you are able to express who you are, a life whereby you are relaxed, a life whereby you can express your feelings without being charged. At this moment sometimes, you know, when I go out clubbing or anything and I speak to somebody and I tell them that I am gay; at first when I had to open up about that, after telling you I would have to freeze, to look how you respond, to know how much you’ll judge me, or what you’ll say. But now in the UK, even when I’m about to tell anyone about it, it’s so easier for me cos the only thing that I receive… I can see that there is no judgements on face, and there is so much love and appreciation, which is one of my most ultimate goal – to be loved, to be appreciated, for somebody to understand where I come from, and for people to treat me with respect in terms of things that I’ve been… I’ve gone through. It has been one of the traumatising events that I have felt.
Even now in the UK, I won’t say I’ve fully recovered – sometimes I think of the events. I cry when I am in my room. I really cry to think of how much torture I went through, but at the same I would like to thank God for the fact that, even though I went through all those traumatising events, I am still alive and I’m at a point whereby now I am able to live the life that I wanted, where no one’s going to charge me, where I can hope and live openly, communicate people, make people understand who I am. That is the most beautiful thing that I wanted to share today and I hope that, if there are some people that are deprived of their human rights, if there is anybody out there, I want them to know that, if you put strength to who you are and to know and identify what you want in life, there is no obstacle that can come your way. There will be torture, and there will be consequences of opening up about who you are, not everyone will accept you, not every community will be happy of who you are. There are some people even now that are still deprived of going out there and telling people who they are; they are not even only in Africa.
But I am showing the worst of the world, there are some people who face torture of who they are, and what I’d like to say is: “For who you are, you have to stand up and fight for your rights and fight for your love. Fight for the peace that you want in your life”. Yes I have felt so much traumatising events but I have fought for the peace that I wanted. I’ve tried to live a life whereby I want people not to be involved in my life but, at this time, I’ll say this – what I want and who I am, I’ll identify it. I won’t have to fear any obstacles – if there are consequences I’ll face them. I will face them with so much love that I have and I’ll fight them with all the strength that I have, because at the end of the day I don’t live to impress people. I live to be happy with myself, and knowing who I am is the most important thing, and being able to walk freely is one of the most promising thing in life; and my biggest wish in life is that, one day if the world can be educated, that whether you are gay, whether you are lesbian, whether you’re transgender, we are all human beings, and we all deserve so much happiness, and if there is any much torture or any consequences I say this: “Remove yourselves from people who are giving you the hard time, try the best to live your live in an easier way, and go to the people who will understand who you are. If still they don’t understand who you are, there is nothing that you can do. But the only thing that is important for you is to know who you are and live your happiest life, and never let anyone deprive you of what you want”. Thank you.
BF: Thank you. Do you want to say a bit about how you arrived in West Yorkshire?
L: Yeah, so… When I arrived in the UK, um, I lived in Leeds, but sadly when I arrived, um, I was given... I was told who was going to fetch me, so I lived with a man by the name of John. So, up until I went to the Home Office to seek for the asylum, after that I was located to Halifax. From Halifax, I went and attended some Prides, but not in Halifax, mostly in Leeds. Cos this was when I’ve really enjoyed the LGBT meetings and everything that happens here. I have lived in Halifax since 2017, early March, and I have met some really good people. I’ve come to Leeds for the event of the Pride… Yes, when it is the Pride happening, I have really engaged so much with people and, of course, I have met some of the most exciting groups, like the African Rainbow Family, which is an LGBT, which caters for the African people – and actually they are very diverse, not only for African people but all other people from the world.
Um… one of the most exciting thing about Leeds is I think this is one of the most multi-cultural community, whereby there are a lot of events that are happening. In the LGBTQ group everyone is catered for, and coming here each and every time to the MESMAC is to me like something new is being born, something exciting in my life in terms of how much friendly and accepting the people are. They are so much tolerant and very kind people – the Leeds community is so much of a friendly community and I’m happy to live as a gay man in this city, and I’m so happy that never abuse is faced, and I am proud to say that, as I walk in Leeds I know there is so much love, and there’s so much trust in the people that I’m with, and my biggest wish is to be more involved in the LGBT groups, and to establish a platform of promoting LGBT through art. Yes.
BF: OK thank you. Is there anything else you want to add?
L: I think that’s all for now. And, as I’ve said, being in Leeds is one of the most beautiful things and if there is anybody who wants to know – go out there, meet people, meet exciting people, go out for your night lives; you’ll enjoy; the culture is very diverse. There are so much gay bars that are around the city, and the culture is so much lovely, the people are exciting, the groups are really friendly. You get to know how much people have struggled – yes, sometimes it’s a pain to look at people to know how much they have struggled in their lives, from wherever they come from.
But know that in this city everything is being handled in a way that you also feel much relaxed, you are able to tell people that... you know… right now when I walk out there, I am able to say, “You know what, if you are depressed or deprived of your… of anything… or you’re scared to come out, come with me, come to the African Rainbow Family. They will tell you now, Leeds MESMAC, they will give you support. They will encourage you. They’ll show you the direction, and you won’t feel alone, you won’t walk alone, and right now I feel so much happy, and being in the UK….Yes. It was a struggle to get here in terms of... The only disastrous things that were happening in my life… I ended up in a place where it was hard for me to establish who I am, and it took me a lot of time to actually come out and say – you know what, this is the right thing now, this is what… this is who I am, and this is how I’m going to work my ways. But at the end of the day I want to say, “Wherever you are, whatever sort of abuse you are facing… fight. Fight for who you want to be. Nobody deserves to be punished of who they are and it’s up to you how much you are willing to… to know and to find yourself.” And that’s the only thing that I want to tell.
BF: Thank you.