Thursday, 14 May 2009

I'm out, so what are you going to do about it?

I was thinking about an online discussion in which I was involved, to be found here. Retrospecting on that discussion, I am inclined to concur with that commenter who suggested that gay people in Africa need to be more visible on the whole. My humble opinion is that there is a need for gay African men and women to actively demonstrate the reality of who we are to the heterosexual majority, whilst at the same time being careful not to come across as being hostile towards them. We cannot and should not be hostile and antagonistic, after all, these are our brothers and sisters we're talking about here. Methinks that there is an unhelpful and unhealthy us-against-them mentality that has been engendered in the gay/straight conversation among Africans. Many right thinking heterosexuals are reluctant to argue in favour of homosexuality, because they fear being painted (or is it tainted?) with the homosexual brush. At the same time, many of the gay advocates for homosexuality are combative in their approach, and in the process further alienate those whose understanding and acceptance they so desperately seek.

But whether we like it or not, gay or straight, homophobic or die hard gay activist, we are all parts of one whole; the human race, the African community. If a segment of that community is unhappy, as is the case with the majority of the gay segment of the African community, this is a matter for the whole of the African community. We homosexual Africans are Africans too, and the issues that we face in society with stigmatisation and so forth are ultimately issues which the African society as a whole must confront. HIV prevention information that is targeted specifically at Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) for instance, benefits not only these men in particular, but the whole of society, since it is the case that many of these MSMs also do have heterosexual partners with whom they routinely engage in sexual intercourse, most of which is unprotected. Homosexual people are a part of mainstream society. We are not divorced from it.

Contrary to the belief held by some, there has not been an increase in the homosexual population in Africa. The information age has created opportunities for information to be disseminated more widely, more rapidly, and the outcome that we have seen is of awareness and enlightenment on a scale never before witnessed in human history. The world has shrunk and what information a person is privy to is determined less and less by where that person is located physically. Homosexual Africans are aware that their counterparts in other parts of the world have been recognised to be ordinary human beings, who express an entirely normal variation of human sexuality. Sexual relations between adults of whatever gender cannot be abnormal, since as human beings our sexuality is an integral part of who we are. Consensual sexual relations between adults of whatever gender is not immoral either, in my submission.

It is immoral to rape, but it cannot be immoral if I as a man should fall in love with another man whose desire it is to love me back. How can it be said to be immoral when two adult people find happiness together? Who is harmed? Where is the victim? Is it moral when a homosexual man hides or denies his sexuality, marries a woman who he cannot love and lies to her daily while cheating on her with other men? Is this the course that these very 'moral' good African people would rather that I follow?

Well, I'm sorry to disappoint, because you're going to have to get used to me and others like me, who are willing no longer to bow to some archaic colonial European doctrine that decrees compulsory heterosexuality. I am not heterosexual, and although I love my sisters very very much indeed, I am a man who is physically and sexually attracted to masculinity. I am gay and I am 100% African. That closet door was shut behind me long ago and I intend never to go back there. More and more of us gay Africans need to come out and speak up. When we do this, we can create for ourselves a voice that people will listen to and not feel threatened by, while at the same time shedding that burden of the fear-of-exposure that dominates our lives, which only provides fertile ground for blackmailers and fodder for tabloids such as the Red Pepper in Uganda. You cannot out me, because I've outed myself already. And there is nothing you can do about it!


Naughty feeling said...

You came out all guns blazing! what you are you insinuating is true. I do not mean to contradict your view. Papers like red pepper are the things that a person as young as me dread since most of our parents have a closed mind to these new developments. The media are very cunning in that they potray homosexuality as a western vice. What is so surprising is that there have been indepth research into traditional african society that have shown prior existence of our orientation.

All in all dont bite anyone's head off. In my view the best thing to do is as you have previously said: dont force it down their throats and try to explain that it is not a perversion but rather an illustration of mother nature's diversity.

Anengiyefa said...

Red Pepper and other such publications only play on the African public's desire to ridicule gay people. And we gay people fear exposure only because of the ridicule and the overall negative reaction that we believe will be our fate. This negative reaction only exists as a possibility because our people don't understnd what homosexuality is, and they rely entirely on myths, half-truths, lies and supposed religious instruction that came largely from Europe and the Middle East. Our homosexuality is native to Africa. Anyone who argues otherwise should go and do some reading.

Tamaku said...

'I am gay and 100% African', I love it! I'll get that printed on a t-shirt. Unfortunately not many places I can wear it safely.

Beauty said...

Homophobia is an illness of the mind but "The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life". Albert Einstein

Amooti, Uganda said...

((((Is it moral when a homosexual man hides or denies his sexuality, marries a woman who he cannot love and lies to her daily while cheating on her with other men?))))

((((Is it moral when a homosexual man hides or denies his sexuality, marries a woman who he cannot love and lies to her daily while cheating on her with other men?)))))

(((((Is it moral when a homosexual man hides or denies his sexuality, marries a woman who he cannot love and lies to her daily while cheating on her with other men?)))

Lets just say its i hear an echoe......