Hi, my name is Adrian. I am from St. Ann, Jamaica.
I spent most of my life growing up with my mom in Jamaica. It was pretty difficult for me because I found out at an early age that I was gay. Didn’t really understand much of what it was but I found it really difficult to accept and love myself because of what people thought of me.
My mom did the best she could, but at the same time for her it was more embarrassing than anything else. You know, people going back to her and being like, “Oh Nadine, your son is gay.” My dad hated my guts from the get-go, from the moment he found out. And other family members beat and abused me.
On a daily basis, I would be bullied. I would be fighting battles to survive. I’ve always had to fight physical fights to make it through the day. And whenever it’s a verbal altercation and they would use, like, harsh words. like “batty man” and “baby germs,” “maggot” you know, versus saying “gay.” I feel like if they said I was gay or called me gay, that would be much better.
I remember my final year in college just before exams were finishing up, this boy just chose to pick on me, pick on me. And he was sitting behind me. I was sitting in front and he threw – crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it across the room and it hit me. And everybody pointed and said it was him. I threw the paper back at him and I said “Go throw it at your mom,” pretty much. And that just made him really pissed.
We got out of school, like, at 3:00 PM and I met him and two other guys and the school gate – this is in college – and they attacked me. So this was me wrestling three other guys, you know, because of the fact that I was gay. I remember handling them really well. Like, you know, it was going in my favor. And then out to the blue, one guy just came running [and] hit me in the head. Still have the scar to this day. And I just fell flat on the ground. They ran off and lucky enough, the buses and cars that were passing stopped. And I remember someone picking me up and a few hours later, I was in the hospital.
I woke up with stitches in the head and at that point I said, you know, it’s not going to get any better. I was doing my finals and I wasn’t finished doing my exams and I had to flee to the United States. My partner at the time was able to fly me over to New York. Once I got here, we discovered that I’m eligible for asylum. So after visiting Immigration Equality and them hearing my story, they said, yes, definitely you have a case. Surprisingly everyone at the school in terms of like the guidance counselor and the principal, they were really working with me in helping me to make my affidavits. I would reach out to them and they would fax the necessary documents that I needed to make my case strong enough to win asylum. The hospital was able to submit a medical record of what happened.
I was able to win asylum and I’m now a citizen of the United States. I’m here in New York. I’m happy and doing well. I finally connected with my family who hated my guts because I’m gay. The hardest part for me right now is forgiving them and I’m learning how to forgive, but it does take time. Hopefully, one day I can move from it and love them and show them that, you know, what no matter what, I still I love you.
Overall everything is good. Everything is better and I’m happy with who I am. Better is out there and you just have to figure it out. You have to be a fighter because if I wasn’t a fighter, if I didn’t want to live a better life, I wouldn’t have been here in the United States. But I took a chance. I came to New York with nothing, no money, nothing. And I made it. So I would definitely just tell them: fight, hold on, don’t give up, do your research, use your resources and figure out a way to live. And love yourself.