Thursday, February 28, 2008

Death of a Child


Morning seems to be a little strange. I got out of bed a little late. Had reset the alarm- daybreak is a little later, but as beautiful as ever.

Got out with the sun crowning the horizon, and a brilliant golden glow of morning all around. Seemed to promise a day of sunshine. But that has changed suddenly. The sun is behind clouds, and it is cooler than it was, apparently. Kampala’s temperamental weather.

Looking out over the valley that is home, I listened to the bird chorus. And children going to school. Struck by the fact that I am not perfect, and so is no one, however much we are conditioned to expect it, the world seems not to move in a perfect cycle. Yet there is still enough beautiful about it to make it worth the while living.

I mentioned a kid who was shot to death by a classmate. In America. Our violence tends to be more of the cut or burn style. (Ever thought that there is too much of it in the world? Why is it so? News is full of deaths that are surreal, cruelty which is too casually meted out.)

Anyway, this was a 15 year old boy, shot to death by a 14 year old classmate, in class. What a scene. Happened that the 15 year old was gay, and out about it. He acted gay. Maybe he did have a crush on the 14 year old, and made the mistake of telling him. And lost his life.

Reminded me of my teens. Years, and years, and ages ago.

Cannot say that I was a late developer, but I was definitely not very social. Gay identifying at 15? That would have been a real luxury. I was in the depth of denial at that time. The hormones had kicked in, but they had shown me something that I did not want to see. Girls were simply unattractive. Ugly, in fact. No pull.

So as others guys went into full overdrive, hormone driven course, I ducked into myself. Did not understand what was happening to me. Easy, I had no reference points. I was in an environment where the ‘sex is bad’ idea was a ‘universal truth’. I embraced it, and ran away from my subconscious thoughts. I did run hard. To religion, though it seems the hormones did not seem to follow the logic of the brain. Pesky hormones.

I learnt to hide, and I learnt to hide very, very well. Fact is, if one of my classmates at that time is told that I am gay, the incredulity is palpable.

Why hide? Learning that I am gay, admitting it to myself, in an environment which exhuded homophobia with every breath, every pulse of life, it was an impossible thought. Imagine, in one of those conversations, group of guys, rhapsodising about the attributes of such and such a girl, and me thinking, but this dude does look good. Easier to run away from it, get the reputation of being ‘saved’ and thus piously not indulging in such conversation.

The 15 year old, lucky that he was in another country? Yes and no.

I do believe that if I had acted upon my instincts at that age, with my classmates, I may have risked something as violent as death. But even more, I feared the rumours, the ‘reputation’.

Age has just taught me the wisdom of my choices. In a way.

I have read of places where it is acceptable and safe to be gay. Even to be gay questioning, but in this world of ours, it seems as if they are few and far between. I would have imagined that in the US, there would be relative safety. Not so. Yet they have made lots of progress in gay rights.

It has been a long journey, and it is still ongoing. At least it is not as violently oppressive in Uganda as it is in Jamaica, where homophobia is a very open policy. And at least I am not as young and clueless as I used to be. Got myself a man, living and loving him, and safe, in a way. Life is life, perfection is only in dreams, and though life is a dream, it is not perfect one.

So, what will happen to the 14 year old boy who was humiliated by a ‘homosexual’ advance? Prison for killing another child. A life violently derailed as much as it extinguished another one with the pull of a trigger.

Still overcast, the skies. And the sun is hidden. But I am sure it will shine through it all. It will be a bright day, and I am still alive. And yes, I have been blessed with love, and acknowledging it, even if the circumstances are not perfect.

GayUganda

10 comments:

The 27th Comrade said...

That story got some traffic, but I doubt that the murder was simply because of the gay advances. Anybody who can kill has a problem. I guess I have a problem, because I can kill. :o)

Let's look at it in that light. A killer met a homosexual, the way killers meet heterosexuals even more.

kissyfur said...

Comrade is right, this goes beyond gay advances.

Bolton said...

Gug:

First: note that the police have charged the killer of the teen-ager with "hate crime". That means the boy was killed exactly because he was gay.

And did you see this on "Pink News" web site?

Tutu calls on Ugandans to protect LGBT community

Desmond Tutu has joined 120 Christian and Jewish leaders in a call to the government of Uganda to stop homophobia in the country.

27th February 2008 19:25
Tony Grew

The former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu has joined 120 Christian and Jewish leaders in a call to the government of Uganda to stop homophobia in the country.

In a letter to President Yoweri Museveni they demanded an end to "verbal assaults and legal attacks of your government on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) people."

Most of the signatories were clergy in the Metropolitan Community Church, the world's largest and oldest Christian denomination with an affirming ministry to LGBT people.

"All religious traditions demand that we care for the neighbour and the oppressed among us and that we uphold the dignity of every person," they wrote.

"No one should have to live in fear simply because of who they are.

"As a moral leader we know that you do not wish to see Uganda citizens suffer unnecessarily, and we are therefore asking you to call an end to the witch hunt against the most vulnerable in your community.

îWe are particularly concerned that members of your government have called for criminal action against people solely because of whom they love and have censored and silenced attempts by LGBT people to speak on their own behalf.

"These actions only promote fear, profound isolation and invisibility."

Last year Ugandan deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhindi called for the criminal law to be used against lesbians and gays.

Section 140 of Uganda's penal code carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for homosexual conduct, while Section 141 punishes 'attempts' at carnal knowledge with a maximum of seven years of imprisonment.

Section 143 punishes acts of "gross indecency" with up to five years in prison, while a sodomy conviction carries a penalty of 14 years to life imprisonment.

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, chair of the Global Justice Ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches, said:

"I share a deep concern with many faith leaders that this hostility by Uganda's government officials comes in the midst of the HIV and AIDS pandemic that still ravages so much of the African continent.

"The pandemic will be addressed effectively only in an environment where human rights are promoted and basic freedoms are protected. Stigma and discrimination push people deeper into closets of fear, making prevention and treatment much more difficult."

A poll in August 2007 found that 95% of Ugandans want homosexual acts to remain illegal.

Government officials have regularly threatened and harassed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans.

In 2005 Uganda became the first country in the world to introduce laws banning same-sex marriage.

Last summer an organisation called Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a coalition of four LGBT organisations, launched a campaign called "Let us Live in Peace."

At a press conference in Kampala on August 16th, the group condemned discrimination and violence against LGBT people, as well as the life-threatening silence about their sexualities in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.

In response, Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo told the BBC on August 17th that homosexuality was "unnatural."

He denied charges of police harassment of LGBT people, but also declared, "We know them, we have details of who they are."

In the wake of the SMUG press conference, Pastor Martin Ssempa organised an August 21 rally in Kampala to address what he called "a call for action on behalf of victims of homosexuality."

Calling homosexuality "a criminal act against the laws of nature," Ssempa led hundreds of demonstrators demanding government action against LGBT people.
-------------
Anyway, at least you can see that ALL Christians are not homophobic monsters!

gayuganda said...

Well Bolton,

that is a broadside!

27th, Kissyfur,
I believe you both mean well. But you have to understand that there are people out there who are very serious with their hate. That is why there are 'hate-crimes'. This was a case in point.

It is a fact that many well meaning people simply do not believe that a hate crime can occur. They simply do not believe that hate can be so much that one can go out of his or her way to commit a murder, in the name of hate. Unfortunately, it is true. And it does not help when you brush it off saying that it is simply too increadible to be true.

I remember the Peoples Open Space during CHOGM. I have blogged about it. I was there and heard what Ssempa was saying, the laughter, the shouting for the police to beat up the 'lesbians'. It was a mob that was ready to do anything. Does not matter that they were from a church. It was a mob.

Anyway, the point is, people hate enough to commit insane crimes in the name of their hate. And if you are blind to that fact, you simply are condoning the hate because you are not going to go out and insist that this 'greater evil' is tackled or solved.

gug

DeTamble said...

I say become an expat. Take your lover and leave. May I suggest Darlinghurst, Sydney, the gay capital of Australia.

Anonymous said...

detamble, that is exactly what the s-called "Christians" like the nasty SSempa would like! The less vocal opposition inside the country, the less anyone has to bother with it!

'Mu-garbage' in Zimbabwe is exactly the same, hence what is now called the "diaspora". A quarter or more of the entire Zimbabwe population, now eking a living beyond its borders, most of them precisely the trained professionals that the country most needs.

No, no flight until absolutely necessary. Who wants to leave the country & the family they grew up with anyway? For some strange unknown full of other unknowns?

gayuganda said...

Thanks detamble.

No. Dont wanna seek out any greener pastures. That is a myth that I will not follow.

Ok, truth to say, I love this dirty country of mine too much. I call it home and I do not want to admit being chased away for any reason!

Love your profile by the way. Interesting.

gug

gayuganda said...

Thanks anon,

hit the nail right on the head.

gug

DeTamble said...

@Anon, it was kind of a joke what I said, I was teasing him. GUG shouldn't leave his country, he should stay and continue to blog, it's important to tell it how it really is and he's doing that better than anyone else I've read!

And I want to leave my beloved country, I want to to leave the family I love! This is the planet I was born on and I intend to see it! I refuse to be trapped by my fear of the unknown and just because I leave it doesn't mean I love it any less and my country and my family will always be there for me to come back to. I hope. But that's just me.

Oh and GUG I don't think there are many countries greener then yours, or redder. You've got quite the piece of paradise there. Well, visually anyway.

gayuganda said...

Thanks detamble.

Appreciated

gug

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