Long time, I know.
Finding it tough to keep up……, but, when it is a long journey, taking a breather is okay. You rest, by the side of the road. You look at the cars zooming by, you wonder what it would be like if you were in one of the other vehicles. You toy with the idea of giving up…, and then you dont. You then get up and walk. Again. Or limp. Or crawl.
But, yeah, you do.
I am gay…., a Queer African. But, on the surface, you wouldnt know it if you met me on the streets of Kampala. I am as smart, or scruffy, as the streets I move on. Indistinguishable from the rest of my countrymates on the continent. Of course, in some places, my skin might be a bit lighter, or darker…., but that is no marker of my sexuality.
So, why the hell do judges of the world continue asking us to ‘prove’ that we are gay? I mean, I like sex as much as the next man, and get me one in the right circumstances, am quite ready to prove it…., if you know what I mean.
How do I prove that to some people out there, some stranger who has never known what it is to be who and what I am…? Granted, coming out is a problem, but, can you imagine being deported from a country and it becomes known, in a country like Uganda that you had actually said that you were gay?
Anyway, this Ugandan is facing that challenge. He failed, of course. And after failing, today he might be on the plane back.
Tut tut tut…., how do straight people prove that they are straight? Just a question.
Here is some ‘good’ advice in a newspaper in Kenya. I say good, because, Kenya is known for its ‘tolerant’ attitude to homosexuality…, but that is because Uganda and Tanzania are neighbours. The advice is kind of mild…, at least there is advocacy not to beat the gay out of us…., but, the level of ignorance of human sexuality is really bad.
“In February this year, a school at the Coast was in the headlines when 12 of its students were sent home for lesbianism. The school principal was quoted saying she had asked the girls to fetch their parents in order to enable them receive joint counselling.
In essence the ‘counselling’ involved severe beating from the parents and teachers, to prevent them from becoming psychollogically affected (by their lesbian behaviour). This mindset is understandable because in Africa, unlike the West, homosexuality is viewed as a mental illness.”
Now, that is the more ‘liberal’ part of Africa.
These kids. Were they even gay? Or where they just kids experimenting? But, the kind school principal outed them to their parents, labelled them, and as the newspaper indicated, more likely than not they would get a great hiding…., according to the parents…., and they would of course be scarred for life.
The rest of the counselling is predictable.. Homosexuality is a disease…., instead of kids being led thru some confusion, they are pushed into closets or cut off from family. Stigmatised.
And nothing can become more cutting than the rejection of our big families. For, too many Africans, a family is everything.
Or, there is always the shadow of ‘therapy’, from the traditional or ‘Christian/Moslem’ healers…., or quack conventional practitioners.
We are normal, we queer Africans.
And, that is the greatest struggle that we have to fight. The knowledge that, after all that we have faced, we are still normal human beings.
We queer Africans are normal. Now, who in Africa dares think so?