A gay teenager says his family cut off his earlobe to permanently “mark” him as an abomination.
The 19-year-old, who has only been identified as “Modou” in the press, is seeking asylum in the Netherlands on the basis of his sexual orientation.
Homosexuality is currently punished with life imprisonment in his home country of The Gambia.
Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh had previously threatened to “cut the heads” off any LGBTI person.
“I was so afraid to tell my family about my sexuality,” Modou said in an interview with Gay Star News.
According to the news outlet, Moudou was discovered in bed with another boy at age 15. The other boy told his family that Modou assaulted him to save face.
“I couldn’t lie,” Modou said, explaining why he decided to come out to his family at the time. “I thought, maybe, my family will accept me because I am their family. This is who I am. That was the biggest mistake I ever made.”
Moudou’s family informed the police in his village in western Gambia of the incident.
His father locked him in a room and used a razor blade to cut off his right earlobe to mark him as an abomination, the teen said.
“It was the most painful thing in my life,” Modou said. “The worst thing is they didn’t take me to hospital or give me medication. They just locked me inside a room as I tried to stop the bleeding. I also remember every moment like it was yesterday.”
The teen was concerned that everyone would see his butchered ear in public and know why his father cut off his earlobe.
“I was marked as an abomination,” he said. “I thought I would just stay home – be a recluse.”
A few months later, Moudou managed to travel to Leiden, Netherlands, where his uncle lives.
“My uncle is a Muslim and they don’t accept [being gay],” he said. “I just want to finish school and live a free life.”
LGBTQ Nation notes:
Even though he has been in The Netherlands for three years, he says that he is “terrified” that his request for asylum will be rejected.
In The Gambia, homosexuality is illegal and punishable with up to 14 years in prison. But even that understates how dire the situation is for LGBTQ people in The Gambia.
“Gay people in The Gambia are ostracized,” said Gambian human rights lawyer Musu Bakoto Sawa.
“I will also not be surprised if part of his ear cut off by his family because he is gay. There is a lot of hostility against the LGBTI community in The Gambia.”