Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Red Pepper Fallout

A friend writes to me, 'I am fine. Even work seems to be fine. A few people have asked me about the gay thing, but it seems to be settling down at work. But at home, my boyfriend is having a lot of problems.’

The boyfriend was (like most of us) not out. And because his mate was exposed by the Red Pepper, the relatives jumped to the (right) conclusion. So, a clan meeting is planned. And god help the boyfriend.

Small, tiny ripples of consequence. For the people who are concerned. The newspaper set it off, blowing away our anonymity, exposing us as 'homos'. Shaming us.

One friend I asked whether he was fine replied that he was not. That it has not been ok at his place. That he is even thinking of going out of the country.

Tough luck. A friend who was a medic decided to leave the country too. That was some time ago. His reason was that it was impossible to keep it quiet in Uganda.

The lot of the Kuchu in Uganda. Hiding, a lifetime closet. From friends, family, everyone. Tough.

But life is tough. We have managed to live it before. We shall weather this storm.

An improbable silver lining to this all. Now, I know that people know; I do not have to explain it. Someone was looking over my Google Reader, and he saw stuff I would have closed immediately before. I did not. Because, well, he knows. And what he does with that knowledge, may be good or bad. But he knows. No more hiding.

That is a real relief. No more setting a silent watch on my tongue, on where I look, on the things that I do, what escapes my mouth in an unguarded moment. No more ducking when I am in a bar and I see someone I know. Or ducking when I see risky people on the street! I am gay! Great. I am a Kuchu! And almost everyone knows!

It's also good for us as a community. Yes, I know these days will be tough, as we go through the fall out. But I also know that we will get through all of it. And it will be better, because we shall be 'out' and the world will know!!!!

Crazy thinking. Best to look at the positive side of it all.

Small, personal, personalised tragedies. They will occur. 95% of our country mates disapprove. That does not stop us the 3% from being what we are. Gay. Kuchu.

We shall overcome. Because we must.

We shall overcome. Someday.



The 27th Comrade said...

My point here won't be new. In any case, when your friends are oppressed, they are oppressed by a majority to which I happen to belong. We don't really like the difference. But ...

But where is the oppression for the thieving politicians? I mean, they are a minority as well. Where is the oppression for the people who don't look after their kids? They are a bad minority. Where is the oppression for the drug-peddlers? They are a bad minority, as well. (Interestingly, the peddlers aren't snubbed, the users - the victims - are the ones who face stigmatisation.)
So, you see? If we be unfair, let's be unfair in a fair way. Let all who can be snubbed be snubbed. That way, maybe, we will see that we all would be oppressed, and therefore learn the danger in our self-righteousness.

Also, I don't think I'd be thinking as I do, if I had been gay. In short, it is like patriotism. You just favour the side you found yourself on. I'm just glad I don't have to suffer for what I am ... :o)

gayuganda said...

27th, look at it this way. Why should we oppress? Why feel the need to oppress? Yes, there are differences amongst peoples. Always.

But it is acting as a schoolyard bully when you feel the need to oppress, simply because the others are a 'minority' of any kind. You are stronger, granted. Why do you feel the need to step on the weaker?

Rhetorical question. It is a matter of fact that humans feel an almost irresistible need to step on others. Especially those who differ from them.

That's why, when it comes to me being squashed, I assert my basic right to life, too. And of course they protest that too!


The 27th Comrade said...

Well, societies, by design, will have to oppress what they perceive as opposing forces. Things that act against a society are to be suppressed by oppression of all associated with them. It is why jails exist.
So, I am no anarchist, and I face the fact that there will be some people worth oppressing, except if all society is of one mind. In short: oppression will happen. As it always has. :o) What may change is who is a candidate for oppression, and I wonder if homosexuals should be among the oppressed or if they should be struck from that unfortunate list.

But. Whether or not it is a good thing, I can't know. If we are to oppress, however, let's do it fairly. Let's oppress all the candidates of oppression fairly. Including haters like Nsaba-Buturo. I realise I am unable to exclude homosexuals from the oppressed group. That's sad, because it makes me like Nsaba-Buturo. However, that is one of the reasons I read this - to see if my definition of `society norms' should include homosexuals. Currently, it doesn't.

gayuganda said...


You reason too much!

Me I see things as simpler. I mean, St Augustine is taken to have been one of the premier thinkers of early western philosophy. Yet he once gave a lengthy discourse on how many angels can sit on the end of a pin. Interesting thing to spend time thinking about. In my view a waste of time. But he thought it worth the while. Are you also debating like so?

'Let's oppress all the candidates of oppression fairly' you say. It would seem logical. But again I ask, why should we oppress anybody? Is that too idealistic?

Come to think of it, I may never have thought like I do if I had not happened to be gay. But that is moot. I am gay. I am also Ugandan. Why do you have to find a reason to oppress me? Fair or not? Why oppress me at all? What will it add to your macho percept when you oppress me?

Hitler took it to an extreme. He oppressed gays, gypsies, mentally ill, and Jews very 'justly and equally'. He decided to remove them and leave in place the master race. And he developed a formidable philosophy behind that.

Was Hitler correct because he found a way of oppressing everyone equally?

So again, why oppress at all? Why not strive for a degree of fairness, and remove the oppression? Why should we think of oppression as inevitable? Why? Especially when it is you who cannot exclude me from the list of the oppressed minorities. Why do you think it is right for you to oppress me?

The 27th Comrade said...

Okay. Hitler is a good example of one of us - those who think oppression should exist. But he is, by even the most-lenient description, a humanoid devil, a demoniac.
But, you see, Hitler's problem was that his oppression list was made of exclusively innocent people. People who were supposed to be free to live. He didn't put himself on his oppression list, hence why I say the above. If he had been fair, he would have gassed himself first.

Now, I would oppress someone like Hitler. Murderers and pointless haters should be handled brutally. In saying that, I realise I am bundling haters of homosexuals along with Hitler. This must be the first time I ever put myself in the same league as Hitler for any reason.
Anyway, both Ssempa and Nsaba-Buturo are in there with me as well. But ...
So are homosexuals. I am just putting them in there out of impulse (`but it is just not normal!') not out of logic (because if I use logic, I will put gypsies, left-handed people, men under four feet tall, teetotalers, vegetarians, and the impotent).
Society prunes the minorities (because being in the minority excludes you from what the mainstream sees as normal). That is what is happening here, and I am not too ready to challenge its legitimacy - it is how human society works. Sadly.

gayuganda said...

No, no, no.

If I was to accept the way society works, I would not have come out of the closet. I would not have taken on the govt. I would not have taken on Ssempa and Nsaba Buturo.

Come on, you are destroying your revolutionary credentials.

Why should you accept the world for what it is? Cant it change? Why not? Why should it stay stagnant? Why cant I improve it? Why dont I matter.

No, I do matter.

The thought that that is how the world works will make us stay low, as Africans, as Ugandans.

Yes, the world is not fair, corrupt. Children die of diseases of ignorance. The floods disturb families in Katwe and Bwaise. But you know what? I do not have to accept those things.

I ask myself the question why? Why? Why? And I say, yes, I can do my little to change it for the better. Accepting it makes me settle for it.

Remember, it is the unreasonable man who is the agent of change, the one who will not accept the status quo, but is willing to try and improve things. Do not be a lotus eater, you are supposed to be a revolutionary Comrade!!!!!!

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