This is My Story
This is my story as a young gay man, growing up in Syria.
I’ve always known deep down that I was gay, but I couldn’t act upon my sexuality because it wasn’t acceptable to be gay and I didn’t really comprehend what it meant back then.
I knew I was different from my friends because I’ve never been attracted to girls. When I started to have feelings for other guys in the ninth grade, I fought those feelings for a long time until I caved and accepted the real me. I started reading many psychology books that talked about sexual orientations just to understand myself more. I was really scared to meet others like me because the only way to do it was through the internet on certain websites and I never had the nerve to do it for 2 reasons: 1)you can’t trust that the other person is telling the truth and 2)there might be some people whose goal is only to out people like me to society. I heard many stories of people meeting strangers online and ending up in the hospital after being beaten or blackmailed and threatened to be outed to their families.
My first sexual encounter was after I got to the university. I met a guy in my first year there and we had a very intimate relationship that lasted 6 months. We were living together in the student dorm where each student has his own room, so people became really suspicious of why we were always together and slept in the same room. Sadly, my partner left the country with his family due to the escalation of the crisis in Syria and I stayed here to face all the rumors alone about us. That’s when my agony truly began.
I lost the love of my life and I was left behind to hear people whisper about me. I suffered from deep depression back then and people didn’t make it easy for me– not my colleagues nor my professors. They all gave me attitude, teachers making rude comments about me during classes, most of my so-called friends stopped talking to me and called me names when I passed by, some of them physically harassed me whenever they laid eyes on me. All of that led me to take a year off from the university, losing a year of my life because of the society’s injustice. I needed that time away to regain the strength to get back on my feet and to face this cruel fate of mine.
Since I learned about my true sexuality, I have lived in constant fear of people knowing about me, especially nowadays as Syria has been at war for 6 years now between the regime, Islamic Liberation Front, ISIS and other militant groups. What I can assure you is that all parts in the conflict agree on one thing: Gay people must be hunted down and killed!! I heard the most inhumane stories about people being tortured in jail, stoned, thrown off buildings and much worse just based on suspicions of being gay!!
Military Checkpoints have been made all around Syria and they always question people who they suspect may be gay; many times I’ve been questioned at checkpoints just for the way I look, asking me irrelevant questions and making fun of me. One time they got me off the bus and made me miss an exam at my university.
To talk about my virtual life, I haven’t used my “gay” Facebook account for a long time because I heard a lot of stories about a group of people on Facebook who pretend to be gay in order to lure gay guys to a trap. You can only imagine what would happen next !!
Even having a virtual life to express myself as a proud gay man is a luxury I can’t afford under the circumstances here!!
The LGBT community is in severe danger here in Syria and we need some kind of help to leave this place and have a chance to live a normal life with no fear.