Sunday, January 16

Everything I had heard about homosexuality was based on hatred. One incident gave me the power I needed.

  • Osman Farah (20)

Before my first Pride parade, I can well remember how scared I was. I almost did not dare to go down in the center of Oslo, writes Osman Farah (20).

Everything I had heard about homosexuality was based on fear and hatred. That my disposition was a disease and a punishment from god.

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My name is Osman. For much of my life, I have felt drawn between two worlds.

On the one hand, I am a second-generation immigrant. I was born here in Norway to two Somali parents, but I have also lived large parts of my life in Somalia and Kenya.

I’m also another: I’m a gay man in a world I often find hateful of people like me.

My journey so far in life, and the experience of being torn between these identities, has been difficult. Difficult because I have to fight against perceived racism because of my color and background, but also difficult because I am gay.

Despite the hatred and fear I have felt, this motley journey has become easier because of the many who have shown me love.

A disease

I had such an experience of love at my first Pride parade in Oslo. On the parade day itself, I can well remember how scared I was, and that I almost did not dare to go down in the center of Oslo.

I was scared because of everything I knew about the rage and prejudice against homosexuality, and I was afraid that I would experience hatred and prejudice there.

This motley journey has become easier because of the many who have shown me love

Until that day, everything I had heard about being gay had been based on fear and hatred. I had learned that this was a disease, a punishment from God and that being “gay” was just something “white people did”.

But instead of my biggest fear becoming a reality, I saw half the city in the streets, people of all ages, full of color, full of celebration and life!

Same story as me

I saw people who looked like me. People with the same hair as me, people with the same skin color as me – people with the same history as me were among the celebrants!

I saw people from old people’s homes waving and cheering from the sidewalk. I saw children with face paint and posters together with their parents.

The parade filled the streets of Oslo with a beautiful diversity, and I had never felt such a welcome as I felt in meeting the Pride parade.

Until this day, I had always felt like a mistake – like a human being who was not welcome anywhere in the world.

I was a 17-year-old boy stuck in a void with no place I could call home – without a herd that was mine, and who accepted me for who I am.

Gave me power

I’m not saying that everything worked out after that day. But it gave me more courage and will to fight for my place in Norway.

It gave me the strength to say that I deserve both the security and the security to be who I am, and to love who I want without feeling guilt and shame – and a power to stand up against all the prejudices I have had to fight against .

Everyone has a choice, and everyone has a free will. So this Christmas, this new year, I’m choosing love. I choose to be loved and loved.

I choose love over hate, I choose love over fear – and I choose to fight hatred and prejudice – for humanity. I hope you do the same.

A really merry Christmas and a happy holiday to you who celebrate love.

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