HRC Blog

Ruth’s Memoirs: Discovering Her Place in the World

​Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary

This past summer I had the privilege of traveling with the “On the Road to Equality” bus tour to a few cities, and met some amazing, courageous people along the way.  As you’ll recall, the tour traveled primarily to cities and towns where it’s more challenging to be out as LGBT.  I heard stories from people who had been fired from their jobs, shunned by their families, and in some cases, physically harmed for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Probably the most profound and inspiring story I heard was that of Ruth Marimo of Omaha, Nebraska – a woman I’m proud to now call a friend. 

Ruth is a thirty-two year-old single lesbian mother of two, who was born in Africa and spent much of her adult life here in the United States illegally. She wrote her memoirs 'Freedom of an Illegal Immigrant: The Untold Story of My Search for a Place in The World' while awaiting deportation almost three years ago. 

In her memoirs she talks about her experiences as a child living in Africa, orphaned after witnessing her mother’s suicide, and growing up feeling different, isolated, and unwanted even among her own people. After coming to America, she was in an abusive marriage to a man with whom she had two beautiful children, only to come to terms with her own truths - specifically that she is a lesbian. Her husband attempted to have her deported back to Zimbabwe after she ended the marriage and, because of some immigration paperwork issues, he was almost successful.

Ruth’s story touches on so many issues that our society continues to grapple with – immigration, racism, homophobia, domestic violence, and so much more. Learn more about Ruth's story. She’s also on Facebook here.

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