'The Netherlands equals freedom to me'

​As a gay man from Trinidad and Tobago, Jason Williams had to keep his nature secret for years. Now he can talk freely: "I want a life without fear, because fear is always present in my country."

Jason WilliamsTrinidad and Tobago is one of the dozens of countries in the world where homosexuality is still punishable. But there is also a call for change in Trinidad and Tobago. For example, the LGBT activist Jason Jones filed a case in 2017 to decriminalize homosexuality, and despite the fact that the case is still running, it is a first step in the emancipation of LGBTI’s.
Jason Williams (37) did not wait to see things develop.  In June 2016, he took the plane to Curaçao and from there travelled to the Netherlands, where he applied for asylum at Schiphol.
"I was anxious and insecure and walked to the Marechaussee. An official asked kindly what he could do for me. I told him while crying that I wanted to apply for asylum, because I am gay and fear for my life. The man tried to put me at ease and said 'we will take care of you'. That felt so warm and welcoming to me, it was as if a load fell from my shoulders. "

Receptionist
Until his departure to the Netherlands Jason worked as a receptionist in hotel in Tobago. "I slept, worked and went to parties in my spare time. I actually did everything everyone does. But homosexuality is illegal in my country, people are hostile. I was constantly afraid to be open about my sexual preference. Gay men are regularly maltreated, threatened and even killed. I too have been attacked, because although I didn’t tell anything myself, apparently people react to my behaviour and draw their conclusions from it. I was so terribly afraid of my life and what the future would bring me. At one point it was enough, and I decided to protect myself. "

Many questions
Jason found this protection in the Netherlands, where after a short asylum procedure he learned that he was permitted to stay.  in the  "My contact with the IND went well. The IND official also tried to put me at ease. I was nervous but also self-confident - after all, I had a story to tell. What I noticed was that the official asked me a lot of questions. I noticed in the conversation that the same question was often asked again in slightly different terms. It is a strategy to get honest answers and I understand that very well. After this conversation I was completely empty. "

Azc
During the asylum procedure, Jason ended up in Baexem in Limburg. The presence of so many people with different ways of life gave him a cultural shock. "I tried to integrate, at the same time I told nobody that I was gay. But people talk behind your back. If they  treated me unkindly, I acted accordingly. Once I went to a party at the COC Eindhoven, where I met other homosexuals from the azc; boys who did not come out of the closet there. "

Future
Meanwhile Jason has found his place in Brunssum and the Netherlands has really become his home. "The Netherlands equals freedom for me; you can live your life as you wish. In Trinidad and Tobago I had heard European history of the Netherlands during my lessons. And your Leo Beenhakker was national coach of our national football team, which participated in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. That's how I ended up in the Netherlands. "

Jason would love to work, preferably in the hospitality industry. A prerequisite for being adopted is a good command of the Dutch language: "First I will have to learn Dutch well. Then I want to move to a larger city. There is little work in the Brunssum area. At the moment I do volunteer work in a store, where second-hand items are being refurbished. In the future I would like to help people. Not just LGBTI, but people in general. After all, we have to make something out of it. I have now reached a point where I feel comfortable. My life has started again, I feel really reborn."