¨My name is Juan and I was born in 1976 in San Salvador, El Salvador. My life growing up was horrible. I was sexually, physically and verbally abused my entire life due to my sexual orientation.
My mother worked as a maid. She was raped by her employer. When she got pregnant, she had to leave her job and go live with her parents. For that reason, I do not believe that my mother ever loved me...¨
¨...My mother was an alcoholic and beat me constantly. She was embarrassed because the neighbor children called me a faggot.
She would beat me with her hands or with her belt. Sometimes she would hit me on the head or on the back. Sometimes she would grab pieces of wood to hit me on the legs with them...¨
Abandoned by mother
¨...My mother was so embarrassed and angry that finally, when I was 13, she just left. She left me and my two younger sisters to be raised by my grandparents. One day she was there and the next day she wasn’t. We didn’t hear from her for many years.
For money, I carried water because no one had running water in their homes. It was my grandmother’s business, but I did the work. The water source was about 10 minutes from my home.
A man named Jose from our neighborhood told me he would pay for my service, but the day that I went to deliver the first bucket he made me take it inside his house. He then pushed me against a wall holding a knife and raped me...¨
When I started high school, I had to live through another nightmare. I was terrible at sports and the machista teacher had it in for me in physical education class. I flunked a test and shouted in front of the kids, “You f***ing faggot, you are useless.” The other students were brutal to me, too.
From high school I went to the university but I was terribly abused there. Students told me to leave because they didn’t want faggots there.
So I left the university and looked for work. I found a job at a bank. Things seemed better, I was earning money and I was determined to make something of myself...¨
¨I´m going to make you mine¨
¨...One day, the security guard pushed me into a bathroom staff with a gun in his hand. Once again, I was raped. I remember the horror as he ran the gun up and down my face. I know that I couldn’t speak to my boss because I knew she was homophobic. Eventually I transferred and the torment stopped.
¨...At the new bank branch, I met another gay man and it was through him that I met other gay people. We were all afraid of being mistreated and raped because we were gay. As sad as it was to hear their stories, I knew I wasn’t alone...¨
The worst thing happened
¨...Just when I thought I could finally survive, the worst event in my life happened. In September 2009, a friend and I headed to a gay club in a remote area around 11:30 pm. The police stopped us. There were three officers in the car.
That night, for no particular reason, I was tortured yet again. I can still remember that policeman as he beat and raped me, saying “be a man, you f***ing faggot, be a man!”
I was terribly beaten with his club and can still remember the pain. My body hurt all over. My face, my stomach and my anus hurt terribly. I can still hear the other policemen who were watching, laughing and jeering. The pain was like none other I had ever experienced...¨
I went to the police for help
¨...I left shaken, but felt proud that I had tried to help change things in El Salvador. However, the very next day, the policeman who raped me came to my door. “Open up!” he said. “We already know who you are and we are going to kill you!”
I was told then by the only organization in El Salvador run by William Hernandez that helps gay people, that my only solution was to leave the country. So I did. I left behind my job, my home, my belongings, my studies. Two friends helped me get out...¨
Fleeing to America
¨...I came to California and stayed with some relatives, but soon, after realizing that I was gay, they began to abuse me, too. They finally kicked me out, and I was homeless.
Finally, on the Internet, I found the website of the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force. I sent a desperate email for help. In the subject line it only said, AYUDA...¨
Finding help in Riverside, Cal.
¨...So, Pastor Judy found a United Church of Christ church in Riverside, Calif., and sent Pastor Jane Quad a cell phone to give me. She sent an email to me with the address of the church and the times that Rev. Jane could talk to me. I was finally able to talk to someone who spoke Spanish in the Lutheran Social Service office in Worchester. They helped me find NCLR in San Francisco where they help LGBT asylum seekers...¨ please read it all, HERE (shortened version/posted and edited down by Leonardo Ricardo)
How to help
LGBT Asylum Support Task Force HERE, based in Worcester, Mass., provides financial and social support to LGBT persons seeking political asylum in the United States, while educating people about the treatment of LGBT persons worldwide in an effort to make it safe for all people. The task force welcomes charitable contributions for their life-saving work, which is resourced and/or supported in part by Lutheran Social Services, the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and other sources. Financial gifts can be mailed to: Hadwen Park Church, LGBT Fund, 6 Clover St., Worcester, MA 01603. To contact the Rev. Judith K. Hanlon, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Thanks to LGBT Asylum News, sidebar
· Thanks to LGBT Asylum Support Task Force, HERE
· Thanks to Ken Williams · Thanks to William Hernandez
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