Anette 'At Home'

To me ‘home’ is not a specific geographical place nor is it static. It is more a space in which I feel safe, protected, accepted as the person I am and in which I can be myself without fear of being rejected, where I am surrounded by people I care about and who care about me. It is a place where I choose to be because I feel happy, comforted and secure there. A group or society of which I am a part, which shapes me and I shape it. This place can be anywhere in the world and is not restricted to a certain area or country.
I moved to the UK because I wanted to be close to the person I love and who happens to be British. When I first came here I felt very much at home: happy because I was with my partner; accepted as the person I am by the neighbours, and people in our market town talked to me as an individual with a name and a face and judged me only by my actions and my behaviour; safe and protected as no one questioned my right to be here. My legal status was secure, I blended in and felt accepted for who I am. A lot of this has changed since the EU referendum.
Before the referendum it was noticeable that most people only repeated the slogans and mean spirited opinions which were expressed on the front pages of the tabloids and by politicians. What shocked me most was that hardly anyone seemed to question the lies and accusations that were made. But these slogans were obviously so powerful that no fact or argument could change the prejudices and no sensible debate was possible, no matter how hard I tried.

”Even people who were close to me all of a sudden felt that there are too many immigrants in the UK and that “we have to take back control”. But, of course, “it’s nothing personal, we don’t mean you”.
The result of the referendum did not come as a surprise to me but yet it felt like a kick in the teeth - and it still does. Theresa May’s speech at the Tory conference was shocking, and her infamous dictum “A citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere” is the complete opposite of my philosophy of life and my conviction that you can make pretty much any place in the world your home - if others let you.

”Even if my rights were secured I don’t think I will ever again feel as untroubled in this country as I did before the referendum. The fact that the government even considers taking rights away from us EU citizens retrospectively leaves me speechless. I don’t think that I can forget easily that we are being used as pawns instead of being treated as human beings who came here in good faith and have done nothing wrong.
There is a lot of talk about us but not with us. When I go out I don’t feel like I am seen as an individual with a face and a name any more, but reduced to the label “immigrant”. We are seen as commodities and get judged exclusively by our economic usefulness for the UK.

”I have been disappointed by the attitudes of people in my town and even of some people close to me. The space in which I feel protected and accepted has shrunk significantly. Whilst I am still happy and comfortable with my partner and in our house I am now worried about my future and find myself being wary, sceptical and suspicious towards other people.

”I feel rejected, no longer welcome and as alienated from this country as never before. A bit homeless really.