Tyler Oakley Talks to Queer Refugees in Latest Video

Pride is a month full of festivities—parades, concerts, drag shows, and dance parties—celebrating LGBTQ+ people. But, as this video from YouTuber Tyler Oakley reminds us, it’s also a time for queer people and allies to reflect on how far we’ve come in the fight for equal rights and protections, while also acknowledging there’s still work to be done. In many states, it’s against the law for trans people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, and queer people can still be fired or denied housing because of their sexual identity.

These legalized forms of discrimination are outrageous and upsetting, but they pale in comparison to the laws in some other countries where simply living openly as an LGBTQ+ person can be punishable by jail or even death. Oakley shines a light on this global issue by profiling two queer refugees, Shadi and Sharifa, in a striking video, part of his eight-part series “Chosen Family: Stories of Queer Resilience.”

Shadi now lives with his fiancé, Ian, in Boise, Idaho. He says he fled his native Syria as a teen after his father caught him with another guy and threatened him. Shadi tells Oakley that coming to the United States “meant everything” to him. “I belong somewhere, finally,” he says in the video. Sharifa, a mother of two, lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She fled her homeland of Uganda after the government passed a law in 2014 that made same-sex relationships punishable by the death penalty (the law was later struck down by a Ugandan court, but LGBTQ citizens still face harsh discrimination in the country). “The only thing I was thinking about was to take my kids to safety,” she says of her decision to leave for the United States. Both Shadi and Sharifa’s stories are harrowing experiences, made all the more remarkable because they’ve been persecuted for such a simple goal: to love who they love and do so openly and unapologetically.

Check out the full video below.

Source Article from http://www.self.com/story/tyler-oakley-refugees-video