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Meet Raymond Brian Sebyala, aka Mother Nature

My name is Raymond Brian Sebyala, also known as ‘Mother Nature.’ I serve as local research coordinator of the Sacred Queer Stories project.

I am a gender non-conforming person and an immediate past “Orange the World” poster child. I am a co-founder of the Advocacy network Africa (AdNetA) as well as Nature Network which is part of two umbrella organisations: AdNetA and Refugee Coalition of East Africa (RefCEA). I believe that if one is good to one’s body, then one is improving on their experience as a human being. We are both human beings and human doings.

I was born 28 years ago in Kampala, Uganda but I am now living in Nairobi, Kenya. I have been actively involved in advocating for LGBT persons since 2011 when I was working in Makerere University as a Research Assistant at Makerere Institute of Social Research, as a former fieldwork officer at Makerere University Faculty of Law in Law, Gender and Sexuality, and as a volunteer as a Peer Educator at Mulago Hospital for the Key Population.

In Kenya, I am co-founder and (until recently) executive director of the Nature Network which is an LGBT refugee-led community-based organisation which focuses on empowering the community through positive and transformative information sharing through music, drama and dance. We also manage social media platforms to continue the promotion of information, education and communication with the goal of influencing others to acquire skills to participate in life preserving activities.

I also work as a field work officer at Refugee Coalition of East Africa, and as a key population volunteer peer educator at Church World Service. It is because of the long hours and years that I have given the LGBTIQQ/women movement that I am given responsibilities. It has been a learning process. I have gained a lot of experience in social justice change, and promotion of quality health practices.

I am a refugee and trained as a Champion for Transgender rights; I engage in activities for elimination of violence against women; elimination of Female Genital Mutilation; end to Domestic Violence; empowering females or girl children to say not to unwanted advances by showing them how to be categorical in their “no”; and engage refugees in local host community development activities ranging from animating community clean-up to work-out campaigns. I am so happy to connect the drive for equality from Nairobi to the world while raising awareness about Transgender rights: the need to involve all people in the eradication of TB, HIV, Malaria; dignity for refugees; and Sustainable Development Goals.

My refugee experience has been a journey for me to understand life and how to navigate it in a new country that I have come to call home.

Most recently, in June 2020, I resettled to the USA. I look forward to starting a new chapter in my life there, while staying connected and committed to my fellow refugees still in Kenya.