A Uganda lesbian who was a victim of torture and exorcism was granted asylum by the UK last night (8 June).
Judith Twikirize, 24, was told she had been given the freedom she so badly needed by the UK government by her lawyer. She now has the freedom to pursue her education, her activism and her relationships.
When she was told, she didn’t believe it.
‘I asked my lawyer, "What exactly did they say??",’ she told Gay Star News.
‘I said, "Are you reading that correctly?!" I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was going to tell me I was going back to court. It was unbelievable.’
When Twikirize was young tomboy kid living in Uganda, she was taken to a witch doctor at the wishes of her teachers and grandmother to be exorcised at the age of 10 years old.
It was hoped that by cutting her deep with razors and forcing her to sleep in a ‘house of spirits’, it would force the evil that ’causes lesbianism’ to leave. This went on weekly, sometimes twice a week for a year.
When she got older, and started a relationship with a girl, one night in 2008 led to them being brutally attacked. Her girlfriend was hospitalized.
Shortly after this, it is believed someone at Twikirize’s girlfriend’s work had found out about the relationship. Her girlfriend was then killed by poison.
Twikirize fled to the UK in 2009, seeking the help of Out and Proud Diamond group, an organization of African LGBTI and ally activists.
But while there were repeated attempts to deport her back to Uganda, the 24-year-old is now free to live the rest of her life in one of the best places in the world to be LGBTI.
She is now receiving medical treatment for her past torments and is hoping to go to university to pursue her love of fashion design.
But she has not forgotten the people left still suffering in Uganda.
‘I know how hard it is, how physically and mentally taxing it is,’ Twikirize told GSN.
‘I want any one in Uganda suffering to know I will continue fighting with Out and Proud. We will continue trying to reach them, campaign for them, and make sure the situation for LGBTI people in Uganda changes.’
She said she wanted to thank each and every person that has helped her over the past few months, especially those that signed the petition that made great steps to her freedom.
‘Thank you so much to every person who was there for me,’ Twikirize added. ‘They helped me in ways that I don’t think they realise. God is with them.’