My childhood was filled with war and terror, from growing up in a war-torn country to fighting my own battle with accepting my identity as a Queer Black Muslim girl. I was born in Liberia during my country’s second civil war that displaced so many Liberian families. My family and I escaped the war and came to the US in 2002 but the trauma of war followed my family. My family was separated after my stepfather's PTSD started to impact his parenting. My first placement was St. Joseph’s Home For Children where unfortunately in between the many homes I would have following that stay, I’d end up at intermittently another 16 times.
I grew up around openly LGBTQ Black foster children and I saw first hand how people treated them. I was fearful of becoming one of those foster children that were forced into treatment facilities due to being open about who they are. For years I told my social workers that I was Christian to protect myself from Islamophobic foster parents and then I started to question my sexuality but I refused to put myself in danger of being pushed into the juvenile justice system because of who I was. Many foster parents would refuse to have LGBTQ and Muslim foster children in their homes, and I was not willing to add my name to the list of rejected foster children forced into treatment.
Many of my social workers had difficulties dealing my past and refused to address the fact that I was a civil war survivor dealing with being taken away from the only people that I knew as my family. The only person in my life that accepted all of my identity was my auntie. I told my aunt that I was queer when I turned 15. She told me she already knew but she was waiting for me to come forward. My biggest fear was that my Muslim auntie was going to disown me due to not understanding my LGBTQ identity but instead I got the exact opposite. “You are the child of the Sapo and Kru people, you are smart and Allah loves you even if you feel that the world is against you Allah will always be the one to protect you.” My auntie would say this to me when I started to doubt who I was. This is the only thing that reminded me that someone in my life loved me even if I was unwilling to publicly show who I was.
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