Health and Fitness

‘Living in Ireland has changed my life in a way that is so profound’

As a homosexual man residing in poverty in Venezuela within the early 2000s, Marlon Jimenez-Compton’s life was “very deprived”. Often, he wasn’t positive when his subsequent meal can be, and the homosexual bars he went to have been steadily raided by the police. He knew he had no future there.

In June 2003 he arrived in Dublin looking for asylum.

“They organised for me to have an interview with the government to present my case. I told them about my life and how I was persecuted and discriminated against in Venezuela for being a gay man.”

Venezuela was “not a welcoming place” for LGBTQ folks. He was usually “harassed” and located himself in “risky and unsafe” conditions. “There was a gay scene, but the police would come and raid the place and they’d take you to the station overnight just for being gay.”

“I remember a time when I was living in rented accommodation in my city, Maracaibo, and a friend of mine had just been diagnosed as HIV positive. I went to the clinic to look for information for him, because he felt too ashamed to go himself. Someone saw me and spread rumours in the neighbourhood that I had HIV and my landlord told me I had to leave my accommodation because of that. I just knew I had to leave that country.”

A good friend Jimenez-Compton met on-line on an internet site for homosexual males informed him he may need a greater life in Ireland as a result of he had a very good grasp of the English language.

He informed me there was nothing in Donegal for an LGBTQ particular person. I didn’t know what to do

He remembers listening to about former presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese and “how they advocated for human rights and gay rights … So I became an asylum seeker. The whole process to become a political refugee took about 16 months,” he says.

Initially he was as a result of be despatched to a direct provision lodging centre in Donegal. “But before I was supposed to be sent there, some guys at my hostel told me to check out The George. I went there and I met a doctor. We got talking and I told him about my situation. He told me there was nothing in Donegal for an LGBTQ person. I didn’t know what to do.”

“He was moved by my plight. And he told me, ‘I would like to offer you accommodation’. He wrote a letter to the government saying he was going to give me a room to stay in, and the Government said yes, because by him looking after me, they would have a space for another asylum seeker. So that was the reason I wasn’t in direct provision accommodation.”

Good buddies

He stayed with the physician in his home in Blackrock, and the pair stay good buddies. Recently, Marlon attended the physician’s wedding ceremony in Madrid.

“I eventually asked him: ‘Why did you do this for me?’ and he said it was because his mother was very generous with people, and he always saw her helping others. Irish people are just like that.”

When his asylum was granted, he cried. “We were just so happy that we could stay together”

The following yr, he met an Irish man, John Compton, at The George, who’s now his husband.

“We got together without knowing if we would be able to stay together because I didn’t know if my case for asylum was going to be successful. There was the chance that I would have been sent back to Venezuela.”

When his asylum was granted, he cried. “We were just so happy that we could stay together.”

In July 2009, he grew to become an Irish citizen and obtained his Irish passport. That was a “special moment” in his life.

The couple legalised their union in 2011 when the Civil Partnership Act got here into impact, and married in 2016, after the Marriage Equality referendum handed. They dwell in Castleknock with their canine, Sammy, and a fish from Japan.

In February 2019, Jimenez-Compton utilized for a job in promoting and gross sales at Gay Community News journal and has labored there since.

“The impact working at GCN has had on my life … I can’t put it into words. I value and honour GCN so much and it will always be part of my life. It’s like a family.”

Sing and dance

As a results of a viral LinkedIn put up on World Refugee Day, which obtained greater than 1 / 4 of one million views, he sought to change into a refugee advisory board member on the United Nations refugee company.

He could be very lively on social media and he likes to sing and dance, “even though I can’t do it well”, he jokes. Last yr a radio producer contacted him asking if he want to guest-host her present on Dublin South FM.

“I did the show and after that they invited me back again and again,” he says. Eventually, the station provided him his personal slot: The Marlon Show. “I love it so much, because I have a voice,” he says.

There are so many great issues this nation has to supply

He describes the present as “an oasis of happiness and positivity” and “a platform for all those that feel voiceless for them to broadcast and showcase their message”.

“If you told me when I was in Venezuela in 2002 that this would be my life now … I can’t say thank you enough to Ireland for the way I’ve been embraced here. I don’t want to get emotional … ” he says, wiping tears from his cheeks.

“Living here has changed my life in a way that is so profound. I got an education here. I did a diploma in psychology and a diploma in marketing. I fell in love. There are so many wonderful things this country has to offer. I have this saying now: Ireland is my house and Dublin is my home.”

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