I woke up today coiled into my lover’s warm body. Took some time like that, appreciating the beauty of the moment. Love is an incredible feeling. It is not just the sex, though that is part of it. It is also the feeling of trust in another human being. Appreciating him for what he is, trusting that you can love him, in spite of all the constraints that there may be in the whole world. Trusting that you and him, together can build a niche of reality in a world that may at times be hostile, at times loving.
It is not easy. Ours is a gay love, a homosexual love. And we have taken time to come to it, and have worked on it to be as it is.
It is incredible growing up in a country like Uganda. When one is gay, a homo, as most term us, one has to come to an understanding of oneself. I had to learn that I was a normal human being. That my feeling of attraction for other men was not just a passing phase. I had to come to a realisation that, to be happy, I should not deny myself the chance to be me. It has been a long process, for both of us. Learning not to hate ourselves, learning to live in the gay community, choosing to live together, risking outing ourselves on a daily basis in a very homophobic society. There are many gay Ugandans who will choose not to do what we have done. Many will choose to hide in a marriage with an opposite sex partner. It works well, especially if you happen to be bi. Maybe it would have worked for me. I am fairly sure it would not have worked for my partner. Or, many of us choose clandestine, ephemeral, fly-by-night relationships. They are easy and quick to come by, with partners who may just be curious, or like us, or just for the money, or another motivation. I love what Ugandan men look like. It could have been that, but we both chose love and companionship, and it has been lovely. It continues to be lovely.
It is a forbidden love. On a daily basis, as often as we can, we unite in that act of confirmation that, if convicted, would land the both of us in prison for 14 years to life. A life sentence for loving my man. A life sentence for sharing my love with him.
It is a fact of life. Thank god prosecutions are so few, maybe because it is not so easy to prove!
Yet there is always the sceptre of discovery. I cannot tell my parents. I cannot tell my family. I cannot tell the rest of the village, my community. The Cardinal speaks out against my love, the Archbishop is ready to break with others of his church who affirm that I can love, Parliament has written into the constitution a prohibition to our companionship. It is possible for our community to lynch us for what we are, if they discover it. And the police, (if they don’t let them do it), we may have to bribe our way out.
Yet we still love one another. In spite of everything. We fight sometimes, and make up. We sometimes lack, sometimes have. Sometimes we risk much, other times we take it as a matter of fact. Life is very short. To us it has been given a chance to love, and we have taken it. We have thumbed our noses at society, and we are revelling in this love. Love, an incredible feeling. That closeness, that romanticism, that trust, that belief in a life and happiness in the midst of any tribulation. That willingness to be together in trust.
I see it, in part, like we are affirming our human-ness. In spite of those who would say we are less than human. We love, and loving each other, we face the world