"This country to me is heaven and I have to say that I feel I have a little bit of green in my blood."
Marlon arrived to Ireland in 2003 and is now a community radio DJ with a local radio station, Dublin South FM.
Marlon Jimenez-Compton arrived in Dublin from Venezuela in 2003 with just a suitcase and a little money, but a bundle of dreams.
“I escaped my country searching for a better life and I am proud and happy to say that I have found it here in Ireland”, he says. “At home I couldn't live openly as I wanted to live, as an LGBTQ+ person.
“Ireland has made me feel value, and not only as a person but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. This country to me is heaven and I have to say that I feel I have a little bit of green in my blood.”
Around the world, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ+) persons can face discrimination, persecution and violence, sometimes on a daily basis. In certain countries, same-sex relationships are criminalized. As a result, many people have no choice but to seek refuge elsewhere. Those who have to flee their own countries and become refugees are at heightened risk, in many contexts receiving little or no police protection and often face discrimination and other obstacles in trying to access basic services, such as health care and legal aid both on their journey and once they arrive at a destination.
When Marlon arrived in Ireland, the country was on the cusp of a number of major legal and societal reforms. Civil partnerships were introduced in Ireland in 2011 for same-sex couples as part of legislation to give rights to same-sex and cohabiting couples.
Then in 2015, a referendum saw Ireland vote by a margin of 62% to 38% in favour of marriage equality. The decision was a major transformation for Irish society and had an impact on individual people. This included Marlon and his partner John, who first met in the George gay club in 2005.
“We have been together for 17 years. We did civil partnership in 2011 and then when the marriage referendum passed we got an upgrade and we got married in 2016 so there you go- he has married me twice. And if I had to do it all over again I would do it no problem because he is the centre of my life the centre of my universe and the owner of my heart.”
Marlon has continued to pursue his dreams in the 18 years since he arrived. In 2020, he was hired as a radio DJ on Dublin South FM after posting videos of himself dancing and singing online. ‘The Marlon Show’ is a space where everyone feels listened to and welcomed.
“It has been a fantastic experience that I am enjoying so much. We are a community radio and I am using my radio show as a platform to give a voice to all those that feel they are voiceless, everybody is welcome.”
“Through my radio show one of my dreams came true when I had the opportunity to interview one of my favourite idols in the whole world, Gloria Estofan. That’s an experience I will never forget. When I got home I started crying thinking that I could not believe it. My mother died when I was 11 so I dedicated this moment to her memory, because if she was alive, she would have been very proud.”
Marlon is a member of staff with Gay Community News (GCN), the number one LGBTQ+ publication in the island of Ireland. Working in the magazine, he is hoping to help to build a better world for the community in Ireland.
“The LGBTQ+ community has a massive ally in GCN. In a personal and professional level, GCN has affected me positively in so many ways, but in particular it brought me close to the reality of my community which I was so removed from.”
“We are facing a lot of homophobia, transphobia a lot of challenges that are detrimental to our mental health as a community. Not only our mental health but also our physical safety, so I would love to see a brighter future for every member of the community.”