Monday, April 14, 2008

Sense of Community


Yesterday, about 10 in the evening.

Seated at a bar, one of our bars. Kuchu bars, I term them. But that is a very loose term. It is a kuchu bar as and when we are there. It is not when we are not there.

Looked around and counted, at least 50 kuchus.

It is true there were many others who were most likely not kuchu, but there was, and is, something special in knowing that so many of us are meeting in the same place. Incognito, yes, and I bet few who are not in the know would be able to figure it out un-aided. But we were there, and we knew one another.

A sense of community, a sense of common knowledge.

Kuchu society, under the current circumstances, is very much a jungle society. Closeted, secretive. Stressed by what affects the rest of society, in addition to the need to remain invisible. A sub-culture separate from the rest of the community, yet a part of it. Individuals who are immersed in it in different ways, to differing levels.

We differ.

There are the sex workers. True, we know them, and they know we know, but we are all kuchu. There are the less blatantly ‘sex for gain’ people. There are those looking to lay and get laid. There are those seeking for company, some out for a chance to talk freely with other kuchus. Others fearful and lurking in the shadows, looking around. I like the variety. From ‘white collar’ workers to office messenger, we are all equal at that hour. Men and women, kuchus. Incredibly, our tribal differences barely register.

A sense of community, noting some who have not been seen for a while. Careful about the inquiries. There are some areas that are red limited. Though there were some guys who had come in with children, obviously their children.

Meet, talk, look around. See new faces, talk to new people, tease out those who are on the fringes.

It is a jungle. One has to know his or her limits, how to take care of one’s self. But it is a jungle which for the kuchu spells the comfort of the familiar. An uncritical, accepting environment. A safe space that is defined by the time and space. It may not be as safe on other days, or other times, but at that time, it was.

Saturday, we were at another place. Again, there were lots of us, but it did not feel as safe, as confortable as the Sunday place.

I was struck by the thought that the comfort zone is getting better and better defined. And more comfy, at least to my perception. For some, it may not be so. Saw a couple of lads who looked lost. Felt like going and giving them a hug, just to say welcome, you are safe.

Now, it is morning. Another week, a Monday.

Rained at night, the leaves fresh green and glistening with dew, the land washed and muddy roads. Yes, the evening was refreshing, and feels like time for most of us to duck into the usual closets of our existence.

GayUganda

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I gather it was the same in Northern Ireland during what they call "The Troubles". Catholic and Protestant gay men meeting in gay bars quite comfortably together. Just shows you. People on the whole can get on. Despite differences.
Some see those differences as cause for war. Others don't. But if some can get past it, then anyone (or everyone) can, because there's no-one specially different out there, we're all the same overall.

(Apologies for being "anonymous", by the way - this silly blog won't accept my Google password!).

The 27th Comrade said...

Hmm. What if one of you is a mole, and he snitches you to, say, the Red Pepper?
In any case, I guess that's how they knew, the Red Pepper people, isn't it?

gayuganda said...

Hi Anon,

very true it is. And what amazes me is the fact that in day to day life, Ugandans are oh so conscious of their place on the ladder.

Dont you worry about being anonymous. I am also anonymous!

27th, what if one of us is a mole? Well, he would have to be one of us, wouldnt he? Risk that we have to run. But freedom, the sense of it is so sweet and precious that we would rather risk that. Matter of fact many kuchus fear to step where the others are. But for me, that kind of prison I am thankfully done with.

gug

The 27th Comrade said...

That's the point, GUG. You know, I'm a fan of secret communities and so on. Usually I just study them, rather than belong to them.
But the ones that I'm most-comfortable with are the ones that are voluntary. This one, though, is out of necessity. You need to be secret, to avoid the baggage that comes with being known ...

But then, I think if you are not voluntarily secret, and you are just forced into hiding (so to speak), better you come out and get pinioned than to live like that. A life lived in fear (of revelation, whatever) is not only half-lived, it is also not that pleasant. I guess that's why you came out, you (for the most part).

Just do this, you ULGBT: come out. We can attach faces to you, we can sift the homophobes from the rest of the world, and know who you are. This whole homophobia thing can't stop if you keep the masks on. People have got to see that it is their brothers and sisters they are trying to send to islands.
Those people who "won their rights" didn't do it by being faceless activists.

You and your friends should come out, be known, and get busy with your whole rights thing. You can see from this that I've been thinking about this a bit. :o) Just don't go hugging the West. I'll kill you, if you dare. :o)

DeTamble said...

Moles, hey? They are very soft :-) I should like a mole skin blankie...

Princess said...

Hmmm, GUG, now I see. :)

gayuganda said...

Hey 27th,

there you go again, writing a prescription which you are sure will lead to my emancipation.

Bullshit, i say again.

Look, it sounds as aunthentic as people who come from the west (and east) with all these ideas on how to solve Africa's problems. They point at the problems, give the reasons for the problems, as they see them, nod their heads sagely and pronounce that those are the solutions. And sit back and wait for us Africans to take their solutions.

sounds familiar? Because it most certainly is what you are doing.

You know nothing about being gay and Ugandan. Apart from what I have written on my blog. You think because you are liberal enough to read what i write and dare comment that you can fathom everything about me and gay Ugandans. For your information, I am one person, not an organisation. I cannot be the whole of gay Ugandans. I cannot even say that what I have experienced is the typical experience of the gay Ugandans. Just as surely as you cannot say that you represent Ugandans.

Stop your prescriptions. I know as a believer in revolution, you want us all to embrace your prejudices. No, i dont want to embrace your prejudices. I have mine to battle with, thank you.

I am not asking you to fight my war, and I am not going to fight your war for you. That is your story.

But if you decide that I am your enemy, idealogical or otherwise, I say, again, I will attack so that I survive. I have no compuction, nor need to appease you when you are insisting on killing me, whether from good intentions or bad. I will only end up dead. So, better you than me.

gug

ps. DeT, we all know what you realy want. And, why are you telling us that you were not flirting, huh? He is a cool dude, I know!

DeTamble said...

Fine! I was flirting, but there wasn't anything specifically special about it. I live to flirt. For god's sake, I even flirt with the red stop lights to get them to turn green. It works too. And I was being serious about the note compiling. So I can tell him how wrong he is and stomp on his ideas!

You know he is cool? Are you sure he is cool? I think he's a bit of a snob.

Princess said...

27th, come out of the woodworks and defend yourself!

DeTamble said...

PRINCESS! Don't encourage him!!

Princess said...

Hey! It's fun watching y'all at it!

DeTamble said...

Yeah. We're ever so entertaining. You and GUG are getting off on this aren't you? You sick twisted people.

Princess said...

LOL, DeT.This time GUG is part of the drama.There's two of you throwing barbs at 27th.I just wanna see how he fights back...
So, maybe I'm twisted.
*shrug

The 27th Comrade said...

Okay, GUG. I hate prescriptions, and I didn't even realise I was giving prescriptions. :o)
I thought you'd respond with something like "Why we can't come out is ...", but I got a fairly pointed shot.

Anyway, cool. I'm dropping it.
Although, of course, I think that coming out (maybe en masse), because I'm fairly positive that redemption doesn't lie in staying underground.

I wonder what exactly was "bullshit" about what I wrote, but I don't think I want to find out. Lemme just let this drop. And my prejudices, you hinted on them in that paragraph about those people who hand out prescriptions and nod sagely. :o)

@DeTamble: I'm not cool. :o) Right out of the horse's mouth! Gwahahahaha.

Princess said...

Comrade retreats.
*sigh
But wise move, 27th.This particular battle would have no end.

The 27th Comrade said...

Guys, I missed your comments, while my internet was refusing to get up and walk.
And no, I think GUG is off on a tangent, here. I don't see why he saw any attack in my comment. Even that last line has a smiley on it, just to make sure nobody misses that it is a joke, but ...

*runs back to the woodworks*

The 27th Comrade said...

@Princess: Yeah, I chose retreat. I think GUG has already painted me many bad colours, and he is capable of seeing me as being on the offensive, even when I try not to be. Maybe that comment had something bad in it (that I can't yet locate), but still. Written media sucks - this can be expected, because of the medium, not the people.
So, yeah, retreat. :o) Sun Tzu recommends it, after all.

@DeTamble: We should flirt in 3D. :o) I pack a punch. So to speak. ;o)

Princess said...

GUG, where you at?

gayuganda said...

Here, here. Um, Present.

You guys dont have anything else to do? But to comment, that is!

Nice comments by the way. Never heard of anyone flirting with the red lights. Something to try out at Wandegeya soon...

Wanted to ask where someone is going in November... but some people will wonder whether their mails are private any longer, and you know, they are paranoic that way...

Hey, about the debate, er, the question. I look around and seems as if the revolutionary is in the woodworks. The field is mine, need I say anything more?

gug

The 27th Comrade said...

:-o

Yes, GUG, field is yours and all, but ... my mails! Where you done found them?

And, yes, I should be working. (I am squatting on a late project, right now.)

gayuganda said...

[smugly, coyly]

we have our ways...

Seriously 27th, you dropped a few hints, and someone else dropped some more, and it just clarified in my mind. god's truth, whatever god!

gug

Princess said...

Dramatic hints those, GUG. :D
I am happily employed running around blogs btw-

DeTamble said...

I go to study for an hour and you lot go comment crazy! Without Me!!!

@27th: I know you're not cool. :-) In 3D? Do you think you could handle it? The traffic lights can't handle it and they're not even as horny as you.

@GUG: Dramatic hints? Well, enjoy your clarification, I'm sure it won't last long. :-)

Princess said...

So that's where you were...

The 27th Comrade said...

Hehe. SMUG guy GUG has his ways.
I didn't realise ... I was saying so much. But hey.

I really, really should be working. :o)

@DeTamble: Traffic lights don't aren't nearly half as horny. And ... I also change colours. Some of this shit you should see 'fore you can believe. :o)

DeTamble said...

@27th: You change colour? What, black with some flowering white?

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