Fleeing Brunei: 'If I die, I lived a good life'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:26s

Fleeing Brunei: 'If I die, I lived a good life'

Nineteen year-old transgender refugee Zoella Zayce fled to Canada in 2018 from Brunei, which this month introduced the death penalty for homosexuality.

This is her story in her words.

Rough Cut (no reporter narration).


Fleeing Brunei: 'If I die, I lived a good life'


Zoella Zayce displays no photos of her family in her basement apartment in Vancouver, thousands of miles from where she left them in Brunei.

The 19-year-old refugee claimant is a transgender woman, something she never told the family she describes as conservative.

Back home, family and friends sometimes asked if she was gay.

It was an alarming question in the Southeast Asian country, which this month introduced new Islamic laws to punish homosexuality, adultery and rape with the death penalty, including stoning.

The laws, elements of which were first adopted in 2014, have been rolled out in the country of 400,000, stirring international outrage.

In 2014, she heard about two people fined and jailed for crossdressing and said she know she had to leave.

Zayce arrived in Canada late last year, and now awaits the results of her asylum application, which could come as soon as November.

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