Podcast: “I came to Addis because I am a lesbian”

Ethioqueer’s latest podcast, scheduled to be released in three days, is a fascinating and important conversation about the challenges the LBTQ community that resides outside of Addis faces.

Given the reality of being an LBTQ in Ethiopia, it seems hard to imagine that Addis Ababa provides a relatively large LBTQ community. The illuminating conversation with Yohan, an Ethiopian lesbian who until recently lived in a regional city, however underscores the importance of recgonizing how much harder it is to be an LBTQ in places outside of Addis Ababa. Below are excerpts of our conversation with Yohan and the podcast will be released in three days and can be listened to at https://soundcloud.com/ethioqueer

“I accepted myself when I was in the 11th grade. There are not a lot of LBTQ people in the regions so I used to feel very lonely. When I went to church, I used to think that everyone knew about me by just looking at me and I used to worry thinking that they were always wondering about me.”

“There is a big difference between Addis Ababa and the cities in the regions. You cannot really find [LBTQ] people especially in the city I lived in. People would say that there are LBTQ people but you couldn’t find them and people did not want to live in those places because you could not connect with others like you. There was not really a connection and you could not meet with each other. So, people will leave the regional states and cities to find themselves  and to live as their true selves. A lot of our community lives in Addis Ababa and so I think most [LBTQ] people choose to come to Addis Ababa. This is the primary reason I came to Addis. I came to Addis because I am a lesbian.” 

“I accepted myself before it was too late but if I had lived in Addis Ababa, I would not have been subjected to as much pain. I used to feel lonely when I lived in the regional city and I think I would not have felt as alone had I been in Addis Ababa. I told my friend about me because I felt like I was being suffocated.”

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