Performer speaks out about 'homophobia and racism' he faced growing up in Havering

Eddie

Eddie when he was a young boy. - Credit: Eddie Kaziro

An ex-performer has spoken out with allegations of homophobia and racism he faced growing up in Havering, and how it has shaped the person he is today. 

Eddie Kaziro was born to Ugandan parents but grew up in Havering, where he claims he was “often the only person of colour”.  

He said he attended a performing arts college to nurture a budding talent, but he was made to feel “more disassociated than included”. 

Eddie Kaziro

Eddie Kaziro went to performing arts college - Credit: Eddie Kaziro

He said: “It’s ironic because performing arts is so enthralled with gay culture, but I always remember a subtle air of homophobia.  

“It was a toxic environment that began to chip away at my confidence.  

“Being in the closet is hard, especially as those around you are so certain that you identify a certain way.”  

Combined with the “pressures from college”, Eddie described his youth as a “very confusing time”.  

Eddie Kaziro

Eddie can be seen in the bottom row in the centre. - Credit: Eddie Kaziro

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Graduating in 2010 aged 19, Eddie found the courage to come out to selected peers and family members.  

He said: “It was quite a turbulent period, especially with my family, who had mixed reactions at best.” 

Eddie now works as a customer success executive at Diversifying, where he helps organisations facilitate more inclusive hiring practices. 

The now 31-year-old, who has a master’s degree in contemporary culture and thought, said he is “extremely proud” of himself.

He now looks back at his time at college as a “learning experience” which made him the person he is today, he added.  

Now Eddie is pleased to see the world has changed and becoming “increasingly progressive”.  

Eddie

Eddie with his dad. - Credit: Eddie Kaziro

He said: “For example, LGBTQIA+ generations are not all having to experience the traditional ‘coming out’ that I did.  

“And that’s something I’m glad to see. 

“The pressure to have a label for who we identify as, which most of the time is at a very young and confusing age, is very dangerous.  

“However, seeing my nephew grow up during this time is refreshing as his love is unconditional, regardless of my sexuality or who I am with.”