My first day in France: Joël

"In our country, being gay is not allowed… Because I wanted to save my life… I had to leave it." Joel arrived in Paris after fleeing Uganda — this is how he lived his first day in France.

‘I left Uganda because of my sexuality’

I reached Paris; I did not get the happiness I thought. The only thing that got to me was that I’m alive, I’m not dead. I remember when I came, I was stranded here with the bags. I stayed here for a long time, for hours and hours. I didn’t know what to do. What I remember, I saw the police guys taking some people, and I thought I was also going to be taken. So, I went in the corner, I sat there, I cried. I cried until I had to say, “Now, Joel, it’s over! You have to fight, or you have to think.” So, I had to think and say, now, what can I do next?

I got a phone, I called my friend back in Uganda, and I said asked him for help, if he knew anyone here. So, he gave me the contact and I called. And then I had to call a friend here and had to come and rescue me, but unfortunately, he also didn’t know. He did not have a place because he had also just come here. We got a connection and then we went to Bonne Nouvelle. That’s where I slept.

And after getting problems, issues, after my life being in danger, being recognized as a gay person, as a gay activist, and as a human rights defender. Because in our country, being gay is not allowed. I do not have a dream to leave my country because I thought that everything, I had in my country was fine for me. We are here at OFPRA, where I got my special constitutional status in France, after France recognized me as a special person. I left Uganda because of my sexuality. It was okay. But because I wanted to save my life, I wanted to have a good security and to secure my life, I had to leave it.


11/27/2019 11:19 AM
  • 14.5k
  • 18


  • Buka F.
    4 days

    This is terrible..gays are having a blast in uganda regardless..if you wanted to go to paris you could have just keem black smh

  • Emeka O.
    4 days

    Go and receive your award as the first gay from Uganda who is seeking for asylum in France

  • Abdou K.
    4 days

    You are a disgrace to Africa.

  • Bashir H.
    4 days

    Uganda might not all homosexual, 🤣🤣🤣 if you tell gays that u do homosexual they want to kill you! May Allah bless Uganda 😍😍😍 if u use gay war to remove our museveni we shall forgive ...... ☠️☠️☠️ Make peace choose kind. Let them do homosexual in your country where u want them let time pass don't force it in Uganda now☠️

  • Hind H.
    4 days


  • Lucia M.
    5 days

    We all have no explanation make life easier for you . just be careful and don' about what other people think about you

  • OuSsama J.
    5 days

    tagiham tagiham 😂🤣🤣🤣

  • Pam B.
    5 days


  • Wendy H.
    5 days

    A lovely, harmless individual. I hope he has a happy life, but feel sorry for any gay people now living in Uganda who may be suffering.

  • Paula L.
    5 days

    He is sooo handsome

  • Gary W.
    5 days

    Such a powerful story to share...

  • Ceci P.
    5 days

    Good luck and blessings for you !!

  • Ammar A.
    5 days


  • Kenneth V.
    5 days

    off to the comment section and let see what this experts has to say

  • Latifah J.
    5 days

    sarie lucida

  • Actup S.
    5 days

    Change is coming ❤️ Stay safe

  • Brut
    11/25/2019 19:20

    "The first thought that crossed my mind was if I had to die, I wished I was back home with my family." Jinal moved to Philadelphia from India in 2001 — just weeks before 9/11. This is how she lived on her first day in America.