20 Nov

Radwan and the struggle of finding a job because of his homosexuality

Radwan: “Finding a decent job was impossible just because I am homosexual!”

Is being homosexual an unforgivable crime? What crime did I commit to deserve to be cast aside and left alone? These are the questions that are haunting the young Syrian man. His life took a new turn when he revealed his sexual orientation.

Radwan is a 30-year-old young man who fled his country because of the war, yearning to lead a peaceful life in Lebanon. He brought along his family, wife and two children. They settled in one of the villages in Lebanon hoping to adapt to the new environment and circumstances. He was the only one to provide for the family. However, little did his family know about the sexual harassment he endured. He was abused by the closest members of his family. He was continuously sexually harassed by his uncle ever since he was 10 years old, and what’s worse is that he got used to it. This continued until he was 15 years old when his uncle finally got married and stopped approaching him.

Moreover, Radwan was forced to get married at 15. He lived with his wife who bore him two children, but he felt he was homosexual before he got married, yet he convinced himself that after marriage, he will change and will be able to raise a family and so continued his life with his wife.

After he left his country, he thought he would stay away from the homosexual environment, but the truth is he felt he belonged there especially when he met a large group of homosexuals.

Therefore, he was sure of his sexual orientation and was convinced he was like them. He was unable to hide his homosexuality any longer. Even though he behaved normally in front of everyone, and it was difficult to discover his orientation, after a while, he couldn’t hide it any longer and so his behaviors started to change. Consequently, his father started being skeptical. That is when Radwan disclosed his sexual orientation. His father was in denial, so he disowned him immediately. Even his wife left him and went back to Syria leaving their children behind.

Today, Radwan’s father is raising his children. In addition to being away from his two children, Radwan was jobless. Being homosexual, it was difficult for him to find a job. Thus, he had no choice but to work in a parking lot though his salary was not enough to pay rent. The only solution he had was to settle in a chicken coop located near the lot. There, he found refuge where he would not be bullied, discriminated or harassed, so he cleaned it up and brought a mattress to sleep on. He only lived on some bread and vegetables just to ease his hunger.

Undoubtedly, Radwan was devastated by his father’s reaction; he misses his children tremendously and longs to get them back and leave to a European country where homosexual rights are preserved, where he could settle and find a decent job that respects his rights, and where homosexuality is not a crime but a personal freedom!

“Travelling is my dream!”, he states.

“I am surrendering to my destiny which will save me from my current dreadful situation. I am deprived of my children, and I feel paralyzed. I am unable to take any step forward to improve the state I am in or find a job that would uphold my rights and my dignity! I need a job that will help me live with dignity, lead a normal life like any other human being, a job that would provide me with food, clothes and shelter. Is that too much to ask for? At the present moment, the coop is my only shelter. I hope that my situation is looked into and my case is taken very seriously.”

This story was documented as part of the “Enhancing the Inclusivity of the LGBTI community in Workplaces in Lebanon” project funded by the European Union and executed by SIDC in partnership with ACTED.

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