My friend (I'll call her *Caz for narration's sake) is a Malaysian gay woman who I have known mostly online for almost four years. She lives with her parents and two brothers, the latter of which are quite verbal regarding their opinions on LGBT people. Unfortunately, in Malaysia it is a criminal offence to be LGBT and can mean jail or corporal punishment, and scarily it is not unheard of for vigilante violence/killings to take place if a person is outed in the community. She is a lesbian and has kept it a secret from her family because of this.
It is becoming difficult though as her parents have for the last two years been trying to arrange a marriage for her, she has been able to find excuses so far but is terrified that her family will become suspicious if she keeps turning down marriage to a man as she knows her father/brothers at least will tell their neighbours, which could result in her being reported to authorities. She is particular afraid of her father and brothers as they condone 'honour killings'.
Caz came for an intended vacation to see me and another friend in the UK about two weeks ago, and the freedom she has experienced has been incredible for her. We went to my local pride together (while I am also a gay woman we are not a couple for the record) and she cried with joy. We have for the last two years or so had fleeting talk about her moving over here where she doesn't have to be afraid anymore, but for the life of us we haven't known how to go about it so that she can live here permanently. She has been staying with me in my house and I will support her for as long as she needs, legally she can remain here for another 5 and a half months - she currently has a tourist visa. If she returns to Malaysia she will return to a life of fear and constantly walking on eggshells so that people do not discover her sexuality. If anyone has any advice for how we can begin a refugee settlement process I would be most grateful.
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