Ivory Coast

I am 26 years old and of Ivorian origin. My story begins when I was 15 years old, precisely in 2010. I met Simon during my first year of computer science studies. He was older and came to help us study our courses as a volunteer. The feeling grew between us; we spent more and more time together, but without admitting our attraction to each other for three successive years. One day of revision just before the baccalaureate, he decided to confess his feelings for me, which was also shared on my side and from then on we began, but in secret our relationship.

Simon used to come and visit me at my house whenever he had the chance. But the more we enjoyed this game, the more people in the neighbourhood and elsewhere became very suspicious of us. Often they even refused to let us into their clothes shops. Then came the day when threatening words were left on my doorstep, asking me to stop my relationship with Simon. I was very afraid for my life, because during the post-election crisis of 2010, two known gay men from the neighbourhood were publicly tortured in front of our eyes as an example and we were left without news of their fate. I was afraid that this would happen to us too and so I decided to stop our relationship to calm the suspicion.

Two years later, Simon found himself in front of my family home and I went for a walk with him when in the evening we were surprised by a group of men who immediately denounced us in the neighbourhood. We managed to ̀ escape and the next day I called my sister who then explained to me that my family, disgraced by my behaviour, never wanted to see me again. Simon then convinced me to leave the country, and he put me up with a friend until the departure date.