Alexa – ‘My friends embraced me and my sexuality’

24 July 2020

Alexa explains how she found support from her friends after her family rejected her for being a lesbian.

Alexa – ‘I found a support system from my friends, who embraced me and my sexuality.’

Alexa faced homophobia and discrimination from her family after they found out that she is a lesbian. This experience made her feel unsafe going to public spaces, fearing more discrimination from the community.

I thought ‘if my family can do this to me, how about outsiders?’, so I stopped going to social places.

After dealing with depression and other mental health issues, she found support and acceptance from her friends, who embraced her and her sexuality. They introduced her to LGBTIQ organisations in Zambia, where she was able to get support.

Homophobia continues to be a major barrier to ending the global HIV epidemic. In Zambia, same-sex relationships are criminalised and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. As a result, many people don’t access health services for fear of prosecution, leaving them vulnerable to HIV. As Alexa found, community-based organisations play an important role in addressing homophobia. They provide support to LGBTIQ people otherwise marginalised by society. In contexts where homosexuality is criminalised, their services are especially important.

About the author

This interview was conducted by Levy Ngosa, a citizen journalist from Zambia.

Video edits by Julia Dotras.

Stories for Change

‘Stories for Change’ is a series of real-life stories of stigma and discrimination, developed in collaboration with citizen journalists from Malawi, Zambia and Eswatini.

Find more stories here.