Coming Out in Malawi / by Lucas Turner

In June 2015, I led a 9 day buildOn Trek of 15 high school students from Boston, to the Ngoleka Village in Malawi, to collaboratively build a primary school. We spent our time in the village physically constructing the school, engaging in immersive cultural activities and spending countless hours bonding with our host families. This Trek was truly one of the most incredible times of my life!

The biggest highlight of a buildOn Trek is living in the homes of the community members, which instantly creates the strongest sense of community and family amongst everyone. Regardless of speaking different languages and coming from completely different cultures, with different customs, beliefs and ideals, everyone becomes extremely close because of the solidarity and teamwork that goes into building a school. Everyone chips in, everyone is invested and everyone is empowered. 

Due to that strong sense of community and love, when I was blatantly asked about my future plans for marriage from the Chiefs of the Village, I confidently answered with 100% honesty, even though being gay in Malawi is illegal, and one can serve up to 14 years in prison for being homosexual. 

My coming out was met with nothing but outpouring love and acceptance from the Village, inspired my LGBTQ students, and coincidentally happened on a very monumental day in history when the United States Supreme Court guaranteed the right for same-sex marriage! 

Watch the video above to hear the entire story! 

The Village Chiefs - Ngoleka Village, Malawi - 2015

buildOn Boston Trek to Malawi - June 2015

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