Raymond: “When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes and heart ache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, love, learned lessons and pride in myself. One word can change someone’s entire life. I want to inspire people, I want someone to look at me and say ‘because of you I didn’t give up.’”
If you follow the Shiloh Project, you will no doubt remember Raymond Brian, aka Mother Nature, who featured as one of our activists in 2019. Who can forget Raymond showing us how to ‘orange the world’? Raymond is, without a doubt, one of our most memorable, dynamic, and vibrant activists.
Raymond hails from Uganda and when we last posted about them they were living as a refugee in Kenya. Part of the LGBTQ+ refugee community in Nairobi for 5 years, Raymond co-founded a community-based activist organisation called The Nature Network (TNN). (You can read an earlier Shiloh post about TNN and a project Raymond co-led, here.)
Since then, much has happened that we can celebrate with Raymond. First, they introduced and starred in a short film called Daniel in the Homophobic Lions’ Den (available on youtube, here and here). This film featured in the International Film Festival ‘Changing the Story’ (2020) and won the audience favourite award.
Second, Raymond features in another fabulous film, Kenyan Christian Queer (2020), directed by Aiwan Obinyan and now available on youtube (see here). This magnificent film explores the vibrant interplay and strong associations between queerness and Christianity in Kenya. It’s awesome.
Third, Raymond’s co-authored book, Sacred Queer Stories: Ugandan LGBTQ+ Refugee Lives and the Bible (James Currey, 2021), appeared earlier this year (see here).
From now until Human Rights Day (10 December) you can order the print book with a 50% discount, using code BB050. See here.
And fourth, following resettlement in the USA in the middle of 2020, Raymond has earlier this year completed their nursing qualification – with distinction!
Raymond you are an inspiration. Thank you – we salute you!
If you would like to contribute to The Nature Network and help other LGBTQ+ refugees facing challenges as they await resettlement, please check out their facebook page here.