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IDAHOTB - International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Today is IDAHOTB day, which is The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. As a new Yeesi volunteer I would like to tell you why this day is important to me.

Nowadays in the societies that we live, we face many challenges. But similarly these challenges can be powerful resources for us to open the door to many wonderful and colorful opportunities that can be achieved with desire for it. As a gay refugee, who came to Finland, I decided to change the struggles that I have been through to better opportunities to integrate and be someone in the society. Of course the freedom that I am experiencing in Finland comes with responsibility as all my actions can have effect on others. For example, now that I have had the opportunity to be openly gay in Finland, I understood that trans people still do not have equal rights as in comparison to other Nordic countries. So this is my responsibility and the opportunity for us to support each other and stand strong side by side.

I have understood that it’s me who sets my boundaries and what is the right way for me to be treated and no one else can shape that. That’s the great thing because now I can change the hateful actions that have happened to me with caring, loving and sharing my thoughts with the people in my community. I learned as a teenager that I have to stand strong and be independent because with that I could overcome all the challenges and change them to opportunities.

I have now started to realize that being different is my strength. I am loving myself more and more every day. No matter what I went through, I know that I have to be so kind to myself and build myself to the iconic person that I want to be. I dream big and do bigger everyday, and I try to share my feelings with those that want to hear. This approach is also a healing process or meditation for me. I question everyday all those expectations of how people have to be categorized or labeled or how individuals have to act. Challenging those expectations is a way for creating a better society.

Now in my new land and my new home, my beloved Finland, I also want to contribute back to the society and to my community that gave me the opportunity to flourish myself and live freely as who I am. Over years I have been going to peer support groups at HeSeta, which is an lgbtiq-organization. I have both got support from them and given back to those who needed the shoulder that they can rely on and share their feelings to. This is also an example of how I support my community and fight against discrimination. Being able to be part of an organization and actively volunteering, gives me a sense of belonging to a community and to the society, which have positively improved my mental health.

I wish for all of you to also be free from other people’s expectations of you, be open about who you are, come and join in volunteering and making this society free from discrimination.

-Yeesi volunteer