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Meet Fredrick Hudson

My name is Fredrick. I am an LGBT refugee living in Kenya. I am part of The Nature Network since 2015 during its initiation. Recently after the departure of Raymond Brian I was chosen to be the Executive Director of the organisation. I am also a co-founder of the Refugee Coalition of East Africa and currently volunteer as its Finance Officer.

The Nature Network is a Kenya-based transgender-led, refugee social support safe space and we use Family-Based Therapy activities to build a context stimulating healing, agency, autonomy, self-belief, self-determination and self-preservation. We enhance continued humanization of refugees by highlighting opportunities for participation in daily activities of life through planned community activities. We promote and advocate for protection of rights and dignity of refugees irrespective of status, origins and we provide navigation services including accompanying those who have to keep their appointments at health facilities regularly. We promote tiering, linkage and referral services uptake. We have been a landmark facility and a first point of contact for many refugees since 2015.

I actually was a fan of Nature Network videos at first before I became a member, the very first videos that were put out by Mother Nature caught my eye and I got so interested in knowing how they go about it all, Mother Nature who was appearing in most of videos invited me after realising how much I was interested in their work and how I was their biggest fan.

At some moment, Nature Network was piloting its new project of audio-radio (podcasts) programmes which were to be recorded and posted in The Nature Network WhatsApp group which had quite a number of members. Mother Nature, who then had become my friend, asked me to take part in the first podcast, which was to talk about refugees and their rights. At first I hesitated because I had never been on air on any media before, but she said to me, “you will be awesome, trust me”.

The tensions were so high for me at the beginning of recording but Mother Nature made it easy for me during all that time. In the long run I got confident and I delivered to my best. From then I recorded more podcasts and I became a producer of most of the podcasts. I then started writing scripts for the vlogs and the podcasts for Nature Network and my involvement grew year after year until I was voted to be the Finance officer of The Nature Network.

Recently Mother Nature has travelled to the USA for resettlement, which left a big gap and I was humbled when she chose me to take on her legacy of being the new executive director. I am so humbled to have been appointed in this position. To be honest, I don’t feel ready to take on this role so soon, but I believe in myself that I will do my best.

My vision for Nature Network is not much different from the overall vision we had from the start as Nature Network of ensuring access to tools of economic empowerment and self-esteem for all without discrimination, I envision Nature Network being a brand name in the LGBTQ refugee community, to be the face of the LGBTQ refugee community, to continue being a safe space for all without discrimination.

We face quite a number of challenges, especially relating to funding. Accessing continuous funding for our resource center over and over is so hard. Lack of visibility is another challenge. Most of the time we are overshadowed by Kenyan LGBTQ groups, which have more resources and funds.

In 2019, I got involved in the Sacred Queer Stories project, which is a collaboration between the Nature Network and the University of Leeds. At first when I heard of the project I got confused on the workability. Because over the years the Bible has been used against us as LGBTIQ people in a sense that it pronounces us as sinners and condemns the act of homosexuality. But as time went on and we started working on the project, it opened my eyes that God does not condone hate and that we can’t fight hate with hate but rather we fight it with love. I also got to know that God loves us no matter what, no matter how other humans look at us as curses.

The bible stories we used in this project preach love without discrimination, judging each other or hating each other. They offer a powerful alternative to other biblical texts that always are used against us as LGBTIQ persons.