Cameroonian athlete Thierry Essamba trains daily. His dream: to revive a career interrupted by his exclusion from the Cameroonian national team because of his homosexuality.
While the 38-year-old was training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, his sexual orientation was unveiled by a Cameroonian sports official in front of the press. Enough to push Thierry Essamba to think about ending his career in a country where homosexuality goes bad.
« It was extremely traumatic because after the announcement, honestly, I was disoriented. I had only one goal, all that crossed my mind was to end my life, « said Thierry Essamba, medalist hurdles Cameroon.
In a country where homosexuality goes badly, Essamba is far from being the only case of exclusion.
« Currently, there are more than 20 LGBT people in Yaounde’s prisons. Just in the central prison of Kondengi there are almost 8 known cases. And since we have 10 regions, only God knows. In addition, we have just had a new wave of LGBT arrests almost a month and a half ago with 6 people arrested, « said Michel Engama, head of the LGBT + advocacy group in Cameroon.
The Cameroon Athletics Federation remained silent, while the case of Essamba was listed by the US State Department in its report on human rights in Cameroon in 2014.