Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Morning

A truly beautiful morning.

Many times when I write that, I try to qualify the mere statement of beauty with what I see. I fail, badly. Don’t know whether a picture would do it true justice.

Opened the door to a group of my nephews. Kids, happy, dancing and laughing around. Unwashed faces, streaming noses. I teased them and they ran off, to wash, I hope. That was before I sat out to realy look at the day.

The verandah, my perch of the morning.

I look out over the valley. To the west.

Trees, green everywhere. There used to be real forest giants. Now, not more than shrubs. The pressure of humans. But they are trees, and big, and they cover the valley, towering above the houses. They were wreathed in an early morning mist touched with sunshine. A fairy tale landscape.

The quiet of the morning. Was out after the bird chorus, and before the children start shouting- Sunday morning it is. Little traffic to hear in the distance, but the silence of the morning, a beautiful soft morning touched with sunshine. Now and again, a bird calls to its mate, or sings, for the sheer joy of it. Its still, the leaves of trees and bananas and bushes around me held out to the sunlight in an almost un-natural stillness. Guess I am so aware of it when it blows, because there are so many leaves to tell me so. Whispering with the sussulation of the wind, rubbing one another in cozy abandon. But now, they are still, hanging motionless. Still.

The air is cool to the skin. Not warm, not cold, just an ambient, skin touching cool whenever it stirs my movement.

Peace. Quiet. Calm.

That seems the blessings that this day will bring.

My love. Couldn’t get out of bed because I was holding him. Did get up late, torn away.

He is sick. The cold that has been disturbing me. Inevitable, we share too much not to share that kind of virus. He nursed me through mine. I am not as good a nurse. But I will try.

Planning a day at home, hopefully holding him in my arms. Soothing that bad feel away.

I know it will pass, but it is an opportunity for me!

Have a beautiful Sunday.


GayUganda

Saturday, March 29, 2008

30 Men Arrested On Morals Charges In Raid On Iran Home



Thirty men have been arrested in a so-called morals raid on a private home in the Iranian city of Esfahan an international human rights groups said Friday.

Citing sources within Iran the New York-based Human Rights Watch said that the men were arrested in late February and have been held for almost four weeks without access to lawyers and without formal charges.

The men allegedly are accused of consensual homosexual conduct, drinking alcohol, and other related "morals" offenses.

Police reportedly referred them to a forensic medical examiner to look for “evidence” that they have engaged in homosexual conduct.

Human Rights Watch urged Iranian authorities to release the men.

"When police routinely break down doors to enforce a brand of morality, it means a line has been crossed to invade people’s privacy at any time," said Joe Stork, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"Iran’s repressive system of controlling people’s dress, behavior, and personal lives violates fundamental rights."

In May 2007, during a nationwide crackdown to enforce dress codes and conduct, police raided another private party in an apartment building in Esfahan. They arrested 87 persons, including four women and at least eight people whom they accused of wearing the clothing of the opposite sex. Victims told Human Rights Watch that police stripped many of them to the waist in the street, and beat them until their backs or faces were bloody. Several reportedly had bones broken.

Of those arrested, 24 men were tried for “facilitating immorality and sexual misconduct,” as well as possessing and drinking alcohol. In June 2007, an Esfahan court found all of them guilty of various combinations of these charges. Most were sentenced to up to 80 lashes and to fines up to $5,000 (US). The verdicts are under appeal and have not yet been enforced.

Citing its unnamed sources in Iran, Human Rights Watch said that since the May 2007 arrests, police have intensified surveillance, harassment, and abuse against people connected to the 87 arrested men, or otherwise suspected of homosexual conduct. Several described being detained by police and interrogated to reveal contacts.

According to one man’s account, provided by Human Rights Watch, police “poured water over me. … They threatened me, they said ‘cooperate with us.’ … They are after everyone, they said, ‘You are completing your gang, you are creating new members, where do you gather?’” They told me, ‘Go out and meet people.’ In essence, I should spy for them."

Iranian law provides punishments up to death for penetrative same-sex sexual activity between men on the first conviction, and punishes non-penetrative activity with up to 100 lashes.

Homosexual conduct between women is punishable with death on the fourth conviction. Iran’s Penal Code requires four reiterated confessions, or the testimony of four “righteous men” as eyewitnesses, to prove lavat, or sodomy. However, judges are permitted to accept circumstantial evidence or inference. At the May 2007 raid in Esfahan, police reportedly brought four civilian witnesses to prove that “immorality” was taking place.

Is morning

Is morning. And I’m awake.

Saturday morning. A wet and rainy morning.

Woke up to the rain, and the feeling that I had overslept. The whole of yesterday, the cold in my nose (which I would gladly have cut off), and the weakness in my body, which I could not cut off, was gone. And I was feeling randy.

Good that we sleep in the same bed. That thought comes and is soon fulfilled.

A proper look out; when inside I am sated, and outside is awash in water.

It rained during the night. Not the lashing rainstorms that overwhelm the earth with floods. But the gentle drip-drip which lasts hours and hours. Hours of the night in my lovers warm embrace, and on into the morning, when the birds awake and the night becomes light.

My valley is green. A green garden, the bananas, avocado, pawpaw and other leaves held out proudly. Green as green can be, wet with the morning rain and dew, and full of life.

There is always a downside.

Most likely it is flooding in the valleys, and people are having a rough time of it.

How will I plan this day? Still need some rest. The cold is not yet gone, the nose still a little stuffy. And a little exercise reminds me of that very vividly. But I will get over that.

Feel like I could take on the whole world and swim the ocean, a shark, or the majesty of the blue whale, an unchallenged behemoth. Yet only life is before me, a few hours to fill as I can. I will write what I can, and clear out my e-box, and see what the world has been up to when I was away.

GayUganda

Friday, March 28, 2008

Toe Curling Sex

Comment, if you dare...



gug

Home.


Nose blocked. Head woozy. Yes, and I don’t think much will come of this post.

Cold stopped me from working. Maybe the first time in long time. My accent has changed, my lover is gone off to work, and I am looking at the tv and wondering what things can make this better. I mean, malaria I understand. That confines me to bed and makes me feel realy low. But this stuffy nose! Don’t remember it holding me down before. But it is, this time. Maybe am growing old.

At least had a good nights sleep. No mosquitoes, treated net. The problem was not lover man, but a wet net.

Weather is overcast. May remain so for most of the day. But no rain, and that is fantastic. Though I love rain, it becomes too much. And of course there are many who are finding it a problem. Houses in the valleys, flooding. Was a mess in Bwaise, Nateete and other low lying suburbs of the city.

Speaking of which, the Comrade has a nice rant about some people who built in the swamp. Reminds me of the parable. (though that was building on sand vs. rock if I remember well.) For some reason he blames the government.

Muse has taken a walk through the window, flown out through the ventilator. But it is beautiful out there. Wet, as wet can be, not a sign of the sun, though it is day. Birds are singing, and the road remembers yesterdays interminable rain. If I could, I would go walking, just to look around and see the newer green since the rain. Its like after every shower, though the roads turn to red mud ribbons, the grass on the sides and the banana leaves and tree leaves all hold out the fronds a bit more proudly. Makes me feel good.

GayUganda

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Its a Rainy Day!


It is raining outside. And I am warm and cozy inside.


I wish, I would- translate the beauty of the rain, to living dew on the page. Living, because it is life giving, and not but life can give birth to life. The city is bathed in rain.


Yes, it is not such a blessing to those who are in the valleys. Because the water is in the houses, and they cannot go out to play, nor stay in to sleep. Kampala is a city of hills and valleys. And when it rains, the valleys flood, and water everywhere is a sheet unbroken, flooding the ground.
I have lived in this city for most of my short life.


Yet there are some things which I am yet to see. Like the misery of the plain slums, not those of the heights of Naguru. But I have heard of the rumors, of rain and sun that makes this paradise a hell for some.


Money. Life’s apparent oil.


Yet, to think of it, us privileged few are not as adapted as those who have to sludge it out day after day. In mines, in poverty, in rain and sun, in the cold when it snows and when it rains with no shelter. Harder life than mine, but they have survived it.


Papers. Took a flat 2 minutes to pass through the New Vision.

No news, is good news? 30 something pages of soon to be toilet paper.


Maybe it would have been better not to come to work. The cold is too much, my nose overbearing, heavy, blocked. Cant work much. Cant stop looking out at the rain and cars and traffic and people. A sumptuous feast of eye candy.


The Cartoon? Its from the Monitor newspaper. The caption says, “Almost daily, humans and Marabou Storks fight for fish leftovers dumped at Kasenyi landing site in Entebbe, probably for food.”
Would it be more amusing if it was not true?
I doubt it. That is real life, unencumbered by the many ideals which we want to load it with.

GayUganda

Water, Water Everywhere

Was it yesterday? I went sailing with Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. Then I took off time traveling with Robert Louis Stevenson.

In truth writing is an art. One that is a joy to see, to experience. I have loved reading, forever. Not so much writing, though I have written a fair bit. But it is within the last 12 months or so that I have come to appreciate the beauty of prose.

No coincidence that it is poetry that led me to prose. They seem to be one and the same thing. One more beautiful than the other, however it is seen.

I have learnt that the most mundane of happenings can be clothed in clothes worth kings. That I do not need to seek a huge plot to tell a tale. And that the small things that happen to me can be magnified by the language of use.

My mind, my mood, is a keel on the sea of writing. Maybe not a keel, but the wind in the sails. Sometimes I fly, high as a kite, riding the thermals, motionless ease in what I do. Other times I seem to sink like a stone in water, unable to sail even on the denser media. I can be brutally honest with myself, and with what occurs around me. I can be light as a humming bird, beak lanced into a flower for honey. All that is possible.

And I do not have to seek inspiration from the moon. It is everywhere around me. In the Billy goat’s antiques. The street urchin’s begging, the desperate urgency of the boda-boda riders. And in the sun, and moon and stars all around.

Today, I woke up to rain.

Ok, I was in dungeon. An unfortunate look was misinterpreted. A particularly interesting specimen of a man, and me caught off guard. Looking. Suspicion is a flame in dry tinder, and since we do not quarrel, we decided, mutually, not to ignore it, but to build igloos around ourselves.

Lasted to bed time. Mosquitoes chased me to the guestroom, and the cold of the morning, and rain woke me freezing at around five. Made it to my bed, in time for him to wrap himself round me. Heaven.

But seems I am still not forgiven.

Rain, rain, water, everywhere. And every drop of it drinkable.

It has been raining cats and dogs, like it did Easter day. My home does not flood, is on a hillside. Lucky me. I woke up dry and warm, but had to drag myself to work. I have just heard that in Nateete, the residents are on the verandahs, with the few of their belongings that cannot stand water. The houses are flooded, and they are seeking the higher ground. Some on the roofs.

Rain. A day of rain.

I have been having a severe cold. But, this morning, despite my stuffed nose, the cold from my lover, I made it to work. And in great spirits. The rain washes the city, and like it has done now, removes all the stench of the diesel and petrol fumes. Makes me feel high.

I had to walk a kilometer or so to the taxi stand. Jumping puddles, aware of the few cars, dodging the bicycles. Luckily they were few. They seem to have this habit of seeking out the wettest patches to splash.

Got to the taxi stand relatively intact. My shoes are not as waterproof as I thought they were. So, feet wrapped in wet socks are my day’s companion. Not sure that I can take them off. My colleagues may mind, the stench, that is.

The ‘taxi’ ride? Ok. Our taxis are actually commuter vans. 14 seaters, (or so licensed), hopefully watertight. The one I entered was water tight. So we sat, all fifteen of us, as the driver drove away. In the thick preoccupied silence of seasoned commuters. Each a cocoon of misery, except me, that is.

I had the luck to be the last one in. Means on the seat supposed to seat 3, 4 sit. The ‘conductor’ crammed in besides me. It was morning (no underarm stench), and he was a cute guy, so I did not mind much. Though I was shoved up against a mighty broad lady. Joke!

The rain has washed away most of the traffic. The roads were relatively empty. Kampala jams occur after the rain lifts. Saw kids wet, like they’d just dunked in a pool. Was happy I was inside and warm, rather than out there walking to school, or work, or whatever.

Will it be a bad day?

Who knows. My nose is stuffy. And running. I am sniffling every few minutes. The day is overcast, and there is rain everywhere. The kind that will not stop till late in the afternoon, or in the night itself. Just like Easter day.

But I, I am alive, and living, and able to appreciate that fact of life.

Will it be a good day? Definitely! Have a good one too.



GayUganda

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gays Still Looking for Love from Christians

Just realised that the banner that I saw on TV about homosexuality being unnatural had made me backslide.
You know, getting back to Christian bashing. So easy to do that, with the likes of Nsaba Buturo and Ssempa and the Church of Uganda and Catholic church in Uganda being the representatives of Christians that I see in Uganda.
So when I saw a straight talking Christian article about the gay bashing and Christians, I had to remind myself that not all christians are gay haters.
Here is the article. And some quotes which I would like to remember.

"To this day, the gay and lesbian community is looking to the Church for some verifiable evidence that Christians love homosexuals as they say they do, said a former gay activist.

The Church must provide verifiable evidence of its hatred of sin of homosexuality and love for the homosexual, he explained at a past Love Won Out conference in Orlando, Fla. Dallas’ session was aired on Focus on the Family's radio broadcast on Tuesday.

"We have responsibility to be consistent to live what we preach," he said.

For decades Christians have struggled over how to respond appropriately to homosexuals.

In the 1970s, many Christian televangelists and well-known pastors began speaking out against the sin of homosexuality, often offering "lurid exaggerations" about homosexual people to underscore their point, Dallas mentioned.

He called it the "Jonah syndrome" where Christians lose sight of the value and humanity of the people they oppose.

In the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic came on the scene, homosexuals only saw hostility from the Church.

"We in the gay community did not hear a compassionate Christian response," said Dallas, who said he once lived a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle.

Instead, the gay community heard: "The judgment of God has finally fallen down on the sodomites."

"Translated, your sin has finally caught up with you, you're going to die, and we're not at all sure we're sorry," Dallas said.

"That is a message that the gay community will never forget."

Meanwhile, as Dallas pointed out, the Jonah syndrome still shows itself today – even as churches adopt a more compassionate voice. It is especially evident in political debates.

"To hear some of us (Christians) talk, you think it's more important to politically defeat lesbians and gays than it is to see them won into the Kingdom of God," he said.


Dobson of Focus on the Family is quoted. I consider him a Ssempa, so I will not state more than the fact that the article quotes him. Would I consider Ssempa' truthful in speaking like so? Personally, I think him a hypocrite. As a person.
But I will not tar all Christians with the Ssempa brush. That, I say in my most pious tone. Believe it if you will!!!!!




GayUganda

Freedom of Association

What is with Nsaba Buturo? It seems some people in Uganda just do not have the constitutionally enshrined freedom of association.

Oh, I do not mean the political opposition. Those of course do not have freedom to meet. But there are other groups like us, homos. And Sex workers.

They may be Ugandans. They may be human beings, but hell, this does not mean that Nsaba Buturo will let them meet. Why not? I am pasting the New Vision article here.

Miria Matembe, formerly Minister of Ethics and Integrity, before Nsaba Buturo, and an effective one at that, does wonder about the ‘Christian’ credentials of Nsaba Buturo. According to her, the gentleman is obsessed with condemning people. Yet the hypocrite forgets the corruption in parliament, in govt, and others. His job seems to condemn and hate speak those who cannot answer him.

Here is the story.

"Govt bans prostitutes meeting

THE Government will not allow a planned prostitutes workshop to take place, the ethics and integrity state minister, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, has said.

The workshop, targeting all prostitutes in East Africa, is reportedly being organised in Entebbe by Akina Mama Wa Africa, a local womens organisation.

In a statement released yesterday, Buturo described the workshop as conspiracy to commit a criminal offence.

It is the duty of the Government to protect citizens of Uganda. It will not permit the association of self-confessed prostitutes when at risk are countless Ugandans as well as the desecration of our chosen way of life, which is to live as decent and lawful people, Buturo said.

He described as unwise individuals or organisations who are aiding prostitutes to host the workshop.

The same organisation was behind the V-Monologues show which the Government stopped because it promotes immorality.

That track-record of dragging our God-loving country into the mud of immorality shall be resisted, Buturo stressed.

Prostitution, Buturo noted, was a harmful practice, which dehumanises and exploits people.

It has broken homes, is a major source of the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is the worst form of child abuse. It treats them as sexual and commercial objects, the minister explained.

He added that although Article 29 of the Constitution provides for freedom of association, it did not mean fundamentally lawful.

‘The purpose of such association must be fundamentally lawful’.

‘Under the Penal Code, Section 138 and 139 prostitution is a felony and is punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years with no option of a fine, Buturo said."


Yeah, all animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others...

GayUganda

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Is Night


Is night, and I am beautiful-


graced with all the beauty


the alcohol suffusing your veins


can credit me with.


Come morning,


the alcohol burnt off-


all my blemishes seen,


morning breath on my kiss;


will you love me the same


Oh love of the moment?


©GayUganda

For some reason this reminds me of Iwaya. I penned it in a bar.

Holy Saturday


Not what I would call this day, but what the Christians term it.

It is a beautiful day. No rain, but the promise of rain in the air. The sun is playing hide and seek with the clouds, the cloud cover is of the patchy kind. The skies are near pseudo angry. They can speak, and they are not so pleased, looking down at me. Me, I am in cheeky mood, ready to thank them for rain or sun. So they hide the sun, and then lift the veil from his hotness, now and again. A shy smile that hides not the promise of brilliant beauty when it is fully revealed.

Holy Saturday.

That day after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday.

The churches are in full regalia, easter mood. Of course after Gaddafi dared to say the Bible is a fake, many are going out of their way to affirm their faith. Fact is, such a challenge reminds people of what they believe.

Mum-in-law is on a war path. She knows I am a non believer; or at least I do not cross myself before food. But her son seems to be following his lover. And she is not amused.

Ten pm on Thursday night, a call from her to her son. Had he attended Mass? The answer was a no. He was waiting for an important call at the time of service. Dared not enter church and leave his mobile on. Business would not wait on church.

Eight am this morning. Call from Mum-in-law to son. Did you attend Mass and the celebrations of the Way of the Cross Friday? Answer was no. Seems to have this code never to lie to her. She is worried, what is happening to her son?

I am sure she will blame my lack of faith, if she is sure of it. Maybe assume that I am going to make him a protestant.

When he told me about the calls, I laughed at him, jocked that she would blame me, and ring to ask why I was holding back her son. I told him that I would inform her that I did not know why he did not like church these days, but that he has not attended as regularly as he used to. And of course I would act the innocent, concerned partner.

When we were watching the news last night, he was incessed. He had planned to go to the ‘Way of the Cross’ procession at Christ the King downtown. Err, business intervened, and he did not go. But what was being reported on the news incessed him.

Apparently, the way of the Cross procession started at Parliament. Not at the church, which is nearby. But, and it was a strong but, the huge banner that was at the head of the procession said ‘HOMOSEXUALITY IS UN-NATURAL’

Now, I am not sure where the crusade against homosexuality ties in with Easter celebrations. Not very sure, after all, I am no Christian. But my lover who is was not happy. It would have been impossible for him to walk behind that banner. And, knowing him, he would have made a scene about it.

I am sure I will not understand where my sexuality ties in, but at the same time, I realy do not care. Or do I?

Celebrations of Easter. Don’t know where I will be, but I will be with him. Am sure he does not consider our love ‘un-natural’. And yes, I will not be at work. That is something that’s a plus. I need to get out and appreciate the beauty of this tropical paradise that we call home. It is new every time that I look at it, and I am appreciative.

Have a happy Easter.

GayUganda

Friday, March 21, 2008

Museveni and Gaddafi

Life is not without its very light moments. M7 and Gaddafi, our dear leaders.

Think two bulls in a kraal.

Bulls are animals, (like humans). They are polite. They tend not to invade each others private spaces.

Two bulls in a kraal is an entertainment.

Firsts. Make sure that the fence between you and the bulls is strong enough. Or perch somewhere out of reach. Or, make sure that you can take off like the proverbial wind.
Bulls are polite. They will announce their intention.

Paw the ground repeatedly. Trumpet their challenge to the world, and turn to face each other. Then each will go back to the end of the enclosure, paw the ground, and charge. The joust.

We humans are less polite, and more intelligent.

We don’t go in for jousts between the bulls. Underlings do the physical scuffling, while we look on- in approval?

Two huge egos meeting. Inevitable that they should clash, and they did. On, what else but, who is bigger than the other? Who takes the precedence!

And of course they fight. Forgive me. Proxies fight it out. Proxies fight it out. 3 or 4 times during Gaddafi's visit, the respective personal bodyguards fought it out in very public view. I mean fists, and throws, and slaps, and pulling the clothes, with the press taking photos. I swear it is true. Just read this Monitor article.

Now, to crown the visit of this leading politician on the African continent, he took a swipe at the Scandinavians, (printing Mohammed Cartoons), the Arabs (monopolizing the Kaaba in Mecca), and his Christian hosts (falsifying the Bible to remove mention of Mohammed). His host is a nominal Christian, and he was seated in the congregation, listening to the sermon, the Gospel according to Brother Gaddafi.

To shorten the story, he went off in an apparent pique. Guess he will not be soon invited back. And if he is, he may not give his royal assent.

Sigh, aren’t we relieved!!


GayUganda

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Muzzle to muzzle


Muzzle to muzzle snuggling

like a wolf would rub

a wolfes's muzzle, nuzzling his love

except that I’m gay, and he’s a man;

the man I love-


Cheek to cheek we rubbed;

drinking one the other’s scent

wordless touch, all saying

that a bushel of talk cannot,


the love rising, tangible vapour

my skin touching;

that, that was it

the sword sharp that convention defied

to soften, blunt the world’s anger

drowned in the rightness of love.


muzzle to muzzle we rubbed,

our world settled, calmed in peace

that only love to love enshrines.


©GayUganda 20 March 2008


True, very unconventional, and the imagery! Bet many will be disturbed. Tell me, are you?

What is a poem I write, but a means of communication, a means of framing some of the words and emotions that so swamp the mind?

I wrote this today, this morning. He was in bed. I had to go to work early. Got out of the bathroom, and he looked so sweet in bed that I jumped onto him. Did not say anything, just rubbed my cheek against his. For a few minutes.

He did not complain, nor did he say anything too. Just rubbed cheeks and smelt one another.

I kissed him, as I pulled away, remembering that I did need to prepare and go work. And as I turned to my desk, saw my notebook, and felt like penning down my emotion, seemed as if it was a huge dammed piece that needed to flow out.

Thought that we had been nuzzling one another like my father’s dogs. But we are not dogs, and the dog is not as romantic as a wolf. So muzzle to muzzle of the wolves it became.

Ok, now tell me that you don’t like it…

(PS, Princess was wondering whether i am a woman... after all the redherrings that I have been throwing around.
No. I am not. I am a man. He is a man. And we love one another.)


GayUganda

Tackling Tough Questions

I am a cynic. And that is a bad thing.

It is hard to look at life with knowledge of what is, knowing how good and loving human beings can be, and observing how cruel we can be to one another. A few days ago, I was standing in the KPC entrance. Was approached by a man. Told me a sad story, a refugee, from a Western African country, with no food to eat, and begging for a bit of money. I looked at him, and felt for him.

But I did not give him a cent.

Begging in Uganda is an art, a gut wrenching business that is lucrative. I have lived too long in Kampala not to realize that that is the truth. Yet with no social system, or net in the city, life can be very cruel for one who does not have a fallback position. So, begging, like all other things, is abused. And those who are in real need suffer for it.

When I see the families that come from Karamoja. Kids less than 2, seated in discipline on the street, a hand out, dozing. Bored, but for the knowledge of what mum will do if the child runs away to play in the busy street; that makes me feel. Yes, even me, my cynical mind sometimes does get touched. But if I give, then those children will never leave the street. Life’s vicious cycle.

The Obama speech.

It was not politics. It was life. And a hardheaded look at a contentious issue that he used his celebrity status to focus the attention of the nation on a subject that is not discussed. Race is not discussed in the US. Well, in Uganda, sex is not discussed, except the ‘good, moral’ sex of a married couple. And that marital bed is reputedly free of discord. You wish!

In Uganda, we are having a very destructive dialogue. We are a fractious nation. During my lifetime, I have noted that we have grown more into a unit than we were before. But the land wars that have spilt over into the national dialogue are reminding me very strongly that we are not a unit. We are Ugandans. But our tribal and ethnic groups are the root of out identity. And the president seems bent on reminding the whole of the nation.

The Obama speech resonates with me.

Why do we fear to talk about some things?

When I was seething with anger at Christianity, I was doing my best not to talk about it. Because I was sure that it would anger others who believed, for me to pour out my ire at faith. Yet, doing so on this blog made me realize that it was a problem, and then going ahead to solve it, letting the anger go.

Will this happen in the US? Maybe. Seems as if something is happening.

And for me in Uganda? The charm of Obama is the fact that he seems to be bent on challenging the stereotypes of the self serving politician. And ready to go out on a limb. Of course he is a human being, so he has failings. But that is a great thing. He may be elected, or not. He may be the democratic nominee, or not. But for all that, that speech makes me want to give him a kiss. (Err, no, not a romantic one, though…)

Sigh, is someone smitten?I assure you not!

GayUganda

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Morocco

Not funny. About 5 years ago, there was a hullaballo about a gay wedding in Wandegeya, a suburb of Kampala. Again it was simply a party which was 'rumoured' to be a gay wedding. In much of Africa, the 'rumour' that we gays are wedding is enough to prompt police investigation. I have promised my love a wedding on our 10th anniversary. How will I go around the constitution?

The Moroccan Association for Human Rights, along with Human Rights Watch, is launching a petition following the imprisonment of six men for same sex sexual conduct.

Police in Morocco arrested the men in November 2007 after a video circulated on the Internet showing a private party in Ksar-el-Kbir.

A Tangiers appeals court upheld the conviction under Article 489 of Morocco's penal code, which criminalises sexual conduct between members of the same sex, despite the video showing no evidence of sexual acts.

At trial, the prosecution produced no evidence that any of the defendants had violated Article 489, which provides prison terms for people who commit "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex."

The petition aims to repeal Article 489 of the code and quash the verdicts against the men, who were sentenced to between four and ten months in prison.

Article 489 gives the police, and, in this case the judiciary, power to interfere arbitrarily with people's private lives.

The men were arrested by police between November 23rd and 25th 2007, after a video circulated online, including on YouTube, purporting to show a private party, allegedly including the men.

Press reports claimed the party was a "gay marriage."

The six men range in age from 20 to 61 years old.

The Moroccan government is being urged to protect the human rights to privacy and to a fair trial.

Supporters are requested to show their opposition to Moroccan authorities by sending an email to petitionmaroc@hrw.org.

A Sunset




Fire to the west-

the flames of a sunset;

on an evening wrapping me cold

with the night’s dark embrace,



How can I blink


to miss a second

those glorious flames?

Nor will I turn my back, homewards;

till the very last flame’s extinguished

‘nd night the west has claimed-



Good night, a warm rest,

light with darkness replaced.





©GayUganda

The Obama Speech


I am at home. Just finished dinner. A great meal. He cooks very well indeed. Very well.

I have not been so into politics, the great live show happening in America for some time. Afraid I do have a short attention span. Bored by things which go on for a long time. And this endless election cycle has simply worn me down. There are some more interesting things.

Like Castro leaving office!

Anyway, I have been shaken out of my lethargy. Obama has given a speech, and of a sudden, I am listening to a politician.

I cannot bear speeches. Most political speeches bore the hell out of me. I try my level best not to listen to them, even when my friend is glued to the TV because the president is speaking. I hate them, with a passion.

I have read Obama’s speech, from beginning to end.

Why?

I guess because it is not just a speech. He does not speak like a politician.

He has reminded me. Long time ago, a very long time ago, my idea of perfect idealism was the great romantic story of the American revolution. I believed, with a fervor that was at once uncritical, and complete. Sigh. Youth and innocence seems such a long time ago!

Anyway, I grew up, and disillusioned.

The Iraq war happened, Gulf 1, and then 2…

I have listened to snippets of Bush, the 43rd.

I have tried my best to avoid all those of M7. They are profoundly sedative in delivery.

I do remember I was spell bound, for all of 2 minutes by Blair…

Guess that is the full extent of my ‘experience’ in speeches.

The Obama speech? Is it a politician speaking, or is this a normal person? Politicians are not normal. They live in never-never land, where problems are solved by the politician being elected to office.

I guess one has to read it in full by ones self. Yeah, it is a great speech. The understatement of the evening. Why is this guy running as a politician? He could be elected a deity by popular acclaim. Well, the Dalai Lama is threatening to ‘resign’. Maybe there will be a vacancy awaiting him soon…

GayUganda

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Desire



He looked at me-

wide brown eyes open,

the gaze a physical caress

on my warming cheek;

I waited,

rapt attention

for his mouth to open

a word to say…



He did not-



Neither was it necessary

my mouth to open

words to fashion

For it was all there;

In his eyes, my eyes

the longing and rapture

Desire and need;

all was fully written

On both our faces…






GayUganda 18 March 2008




aw, forgot the dedication... To Princess!

Noon, and the Sun Shines

Came into town early.

Early, before the sun came out, after the rain had ceased, and the roads were ribbons of mud.
Beautiful Kampala, she is a temperamental lady. When it rains, the leaves and trees and green are renewed. But the roads turn to mud, and the people living in the valleys have to move out of their hovels.

Yes, hovels I said. Once went to Katwe slum. For a reason I choose not to disclose. Hovels, as in a room, 3 by 4 meters, no windows but a door, that is latched from the inside, and a string that acts as the lock. And the life savings of a human laid out on the ground and mattress. When it rains, the water moves in under the door, so it means one sleeps on their feet.

It rained last night. I was with him, after a particularly grueling day. Just moved into him, and wrapped myself closer. Not the time to think about the problems of the rest of the world. Slept the sleep of the content, and woke up discontent, having to move and go work.

Rivers of mud, which I had to cross and walk through. Those were the roads this morning. Red brown mud, every step a danger of splashing on the clothes. And had to walk a bit. No ‘boda-boda’. No thanks. Those mad drivers seem to go madder when it rains. They drive worse than usual, intent on delivering their passengers to the gods before their time. And the roads are slippery, with that red mud of Kampala.

Now, mid day it is, and I am relaxing. But the sun is out, and the sky is clear, though there is something in the air intimating some rain. But it is bright. Very bright, lovely. This temperamental lady Kampala is smiling at the moment. The mud of the unsurfaced roads is forgotten. Now they are dried up and the soil locked in. Not blowing around; dust like it is in a dry spell.

Notice. Campaigns for 2011 have started already. As usual, with the ruling party calling on the incumbent to go for it, another term. Col. Gaddafi is quoted telling him to rule for life, till death us do part, or he gets tired of it.

Same old, same old.

I am inside, but I long, I lust to be out in the sun. It is so beautiful. Even the various things that I have to do, the things that keep me indoors, they cannot take away the feel of a smile on my face, wrinkle of joy that that is. It is indeed a beautiful day of sun. Not so many people on the street, but those who are walk with a slight spring to the pace. Busy, directed, but the smile of the sun is a touch and torch of joy all around.

Yeah, in a great mood.

Hope you are having a great one too.


GayUganda

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Close as death is...

Kampala, as lazy and dull as usual, meaning the morning was crisp and cold, with rain in the night, and it threatened to rain till noon. Now, past noon, inching to evening, the strength of the sun is unquestioned, the overcast is thinner, and it is warm and humid.

We have been having snarling traffic jams. ‘taxi’ fares jumped, as did those of the boda-boda motorbike taxis. The reason for the jams is fairly simple. The city council woke up and decided that a number of roads needed repair. So they are closed for repair.Apparently, all those roads seem to be around the New Mosque, so it was not a surprise for me to learn that Col. Gaddafi of Libya is expected in the country. We only repair the roads when we get a visitor. The last time it was the queen, that was less than 6 months ago, and we had a major do over. We don’t respect Gaddafi that much, so it is only around the mosque that we have done some work. Apparently, he is to visit and dedicate the Gaddafi National Mosque.

Lovers’ tiff yesterday. Went out together and I came back mad. Mad enough to sleep in the guestroom. But in the wee hours, found that the anger could no longer warm me. So I crept back to my side of the bed.

Heard the song ‘Double Bed Mazongoto’? ‘Doctor’ someone or other, one of our irascible local artists. Well, I did discover in practice that sleeping together, the reasons for anger seem to vaporize. So woke up late in the morning, wrapped up round him, very thankful for another Sunday morning in bed, with nothing on schedule. Nothing but a lazy morning, and to dream in the warmth of my lover. Perfect way to begin the day, the week.

Have been having an interesting experience of our extended family.

Have an uncle. Now, this is where the inelasticity of the English language fails me. Father’s brother, so an uncle, but very different from mother’s brother, because he is more than an ‘uncle’. He is my father, and I am a son.

Guy is terminally ill. Knew about it when he was in the village, back where my father came from long before my birth. They were born 2 boys, and a gargle of girls. Males are ‘important’, in our patriarchal society. But this uncle was the ‘black sheep’ of the family.

Anyway, the guy is sick. Terminally ill.

He was a player in his youth, one of his black marks. Fathered more than 23 children (that I know of), but many are alienated. Lives with his nth wife at the moment. Lost count when it became impossible to know who was who.

So, when he is sick and dying, his family alienated and run off, he falls back to his extended family. Which means his brother, and his brothers children, us. And the beauty of family- it does deliver.

He doesn’t look very good. Fact is he is very ill looking. But coherent, and still alert to the best deal. He is reconciled to the fact of dying. Something which the rest of the relatives are yet to deal with. One can feel the shock when another first lays eyes on him. They are literally speechless, coming face to face with one about to die, and looks it. Personally, I think, for the close companionship that death is in our lives, we are very na├»ve in the way we think about it, traditionally. But all communities have their own coping methods.

He is sick, and dying, and knows it. He has fallen back to his extended family, and they surround him. Reconciled to death’s appointment, he can even afford to crack morbid jokes, alarming and embarrassing the relatives who are distraught and fearful.

But he is ready, and I hope when mine comes, I am as ready! Morbid thought, on a beautiful evening.

The sun is setting just about now. Hidden behind a hill from my view. But it will be light for at least another 30 minutes . Dawn and dusk, daily times of change, beautiful when one has the luxury to sit down and appreciate them.

Have a beautiful evening, and may the week be good to you.

GayUganda

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is it that Bad Being Gay?

Hey, I feel like singing 'Sometimes I feel like whining...

I would realy love an answer to this question. A straight answer.

Why? Why not? I mean, homos are hanged in Iran, and in Egypt, well, you will have to read these two posts.

I am gay, and a human being, but why is it that to some people it is so bad being gay that I am evil? What is it about being gay that is so bad? Or is it with the other person?
Here is one extract of what people realy think. Good Christian, well meaning, straight people.

A Republican member of the Oklahoma Legislature... told a political group that "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism or Islam. "I'm not gay-bashing. But according to God's word that is not the right kind of lifestyle," Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City said during an appearance before a group of Republicans.
"Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades," Kern says in the recorded comments. "It is not a lifestyle that is good for this nation."

In her recorded comments, Kern expressed concern that gay candidates "are winning elections" and control city councils in Arkansas, Maryland and other states.

A former teacher, Kern also said gays are teaching young public school children that their lifestyle is acceptable.

"We're not teaching facts and knowledge anymore. We're teaching indoctrination," Kern said.

"We have the gay-straight alliance coming into our schools. Kids are getting involved in these groups, their lives are being ruined," she said. "They are going after our young children, as young as two years of age, to try to teach them that the homosexual lifestyle is an acceptable lifestyle.

"This stuff is deadly and it's spreading and it will destroy our young people, it will destroy this nation."

This is disturbing stuff. I am gay. And a Ugandan. Besides having to live my life as well as I can, I scarcely believe that people are so convinced of these things that they go out of their way to tell lies which a straight thinking person would not believe. But they do believe them.Why do they tell lies about me? I have asked that of Ssempa, and of Nsaba Buturo, and am yet to get an answer that I can understand. Why do good Christian people justify lies for their hate of me? Yes, I have to find an answer to that question, because I will be able to answer it to understand why I am so much of an object of hate that they fail to see this log in their eyes.


Here is another.

Gay star compared to mass murderer.

Former Steps star Ian "H" Watkins has been told being gay makes him as bad as a mass murderer.

Watkins, from Cwmparc, Rhondda, south Wales, canvassed opinion on gay and lesbian people on the streets of Wales for the Week In Week Out investigation being shown tonight.

He said: "I'm gay, and today I'm completely open about it. But growing up here in the Rhondda, it was a complete nightmare."

Referring to the time he was in Steps, he said: "Despite my success, I couldn't be myself.

"In a pop group like Steps, you need to be three things: single, sexy and straight. I had to lie about the last one."

During filming, he interviewed Stephen Green, director of campaign group Christian Voice, and was told his lifestyle was sinful, making him no better than American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

The comparison to Dahmer came when Watkins told Mr Green he was "so happy" with being gay.

Mr Green also told Watkins he could become straight, quoted from the Bible that being gay is "vile", and promised to pray for him.

When I was doing the round up of the news, i looked for a quote from a priest to cement my ire. Couldnt ask Pastor Ssempa. He has already given me a quote on this blog. A whole letter in fact, so I searched elsewhere

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Motherwell has claimed that the "gay lobby" attends Holocaust memorials "to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution."

"The homosexual lobby has been extremely effective in aligning itself with minority groups.

"It is ever present at the service each year for the Holocaust memorial, as if to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution."

And to put his criticism into a historical context, here are the facts

Between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were held in concentration camps by the Nazis as members of an "anti-social group."

Historians estimate that 60% of them died while incarcerated.

After the war gay men were not recognised as victims of the Holocaust and many were re-imprisoned by the authorities because of the sexuality.

They were denied the reparations and state pensions available to other groups

Good Christian people. Hate wrapped in the leaves of prayer. Piously saying, I will pray for you, while they light the firewood of torture beneath my bound feet. Why do they do it?

No, friends. I am not Christian Bashing, as I used to. But why do people who have a religion they say is rooted in love, persecute me with lies that they make up?

Gosh, why am I whining?

Princess and all, yeah, the world is a beautiful place, so I do like it. Sometimes I do find it hard to smile, and things like this do put me down. But of course I have to smile. Shit does happen, and even if it happens because I am gay, it still does happen.

What would not be ok would be for me to forget that it does happen. So, I will talk about it. And still grin and say, have a great evening, because life goes on!

Good evening!


GayUganda


Egypt: New Indictments In HIV Crackdown

All this is not my stuff, but I think we should know about it. Why do I care? Why shouldnt I?

The Egyptian government has handed down indictments against five more men who are HIV-positive.

The five are among 12 men detained on grounds of HIV since October 2007, in what appears to be a widening police crackdown. All were held on charges of "habitual practice of debauchery," a term used under Egyptian law to prosecute consensual sexual acts between men.

Four of the 12 already have been sentenced to one-year prison terms. (story) Charges against three others were dropped.

Before issuing the indictment, the lead prosecutor told a lawyer for the defendants that the men should not be allowed to "roam the streets freely" because the government considered them "a danger to public health,"

police arrested the first two men after stopping them during an altercation in the street. At that time one told police officers that he was HIV-positive.

The defendants’ lawyers told Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that officers detained both men, beat them and subjected them to abusive and intrusive physical examinations, trying to prove they had engaged in homosexual conduct. They then arrested other men whose names or personal information were found in the two men’s possession.

According to the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, doctors from Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population subjected all 12 detainees to HIV tests without their consent. Authorities kept those who tested HIV-positive confined in hospitals for weeks. They were chained to their beds until February 25, when the ministry ordered them unchained after domestic and international outcry.

The case files also contained the results of the compulsory HIV tests. Four of the five men tested HIV-positive. The three men whose charges were dropped tested HIV-negative.

"These men have been treated as if they are a national threat simply because four of them were found to be HIV-positive," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

"The authorities should not be prosecuting them, but rather investigating the abuse and ill-treatment meted out against them and taking steps to ensure that such abuse does not happen again."

Oh well, no comment. But it is a shame that in this day and age a country can treat someone who is HIV positive like a criminal. Thought we had got over that some time ago...

GayUganda

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Soft dusting of sunlight

Sun is in the west, a steady path to the horizon. Sunlight is warm to the skin. Easily heating an egg. Not offensive, or offending. Not too hot, but uncomfortable, especially if one is walking in the streets of Kampala at the moment.

I should smile more.

So says princess. But what is there to smile about?

I will have to search for that particular something which will make me smile. Maybe a particularly nice looking boy. Or a girl’s brilliant smile. Odd, its long since that made me smile.
But a boys face.

I had a beauty in my ‘office’ today, and I felt my emotions give a lurch. And the hormones start whispering to me. I looked in eyes into which I could have drowned. They were steady, trusting. Open.

Wish it was possible to reach out a hand, touch that smooth skin. Was afraid the eyes would cloud, though mine express interest, appreciation.

Maybe another day, for it is not the first time that I have noticed his willowy self, nor been drawn, a fish hooked, to know him. Maybe another day, maybe. But it will have to be another day, not today.

Now, I am walking home. Determined to do that. Through the dusty streets, the smoky air, eyes and nose tingling with the engine exhausts. I need some exercise, and the best way to get home, why, I will not jump into one of the misnamed ‘taxis’. I will walk home through the evening sun.
And that, is going to be beautiful.

Have a good evening, Princess.

GayUganda

Sunshine

A dusting of sunshine on the street.

Don’t know whether there is any other way to put it. But a dusting. Or a mite more than a dusting.

Certainly it is a stronger sunshine than that in colder lands, but here, it holds promise of a blazing hot afternoon. The kind for one to throw off confining clothes and work, skin breathing and glistening with sweat, in full freedom.

Writing that, you can imagine my envy of a person who can do that. I am in the confines of an ‘office’. A prisoner till the end of the shift. All starched up and proper, deferential and smart. Ugh! Whereas I would have the freedom of my time, the needs of the body demand otherwise.
My jailer has given me a great view of the city outside. So I can work, longing for the freedom of the street.

Yesterday I was walking through my valley. I fell in love again. With beauty.

There is so much beauty in the day to day things which we fail to see. I certainly fail to see it.
My memory of these places, when I was walking from school, hot, tired, bothered, hungry, mind focused on getting home and some food into the stomach. I never bothered to look and see. So it is in the morning.

Rush hour we call it. Always rushed. Little time to stop and laze going to work. Letting the business of busy flow about us a cataract turbulence that bothers us not. I tried that today, coming in to work. Left home earlier than usual. Came walking the first kilometer. Relaxed, watching the rest of humanity rush by to school and work and the myriad other things that make people rush in the morning.

I found myself relaxed and good tempered, though I knew I am in for a long day. Doesn’t matter, I can still enjoy it. Freedom is of the mind, and here, on the blog, I have the freedom of cyber.

Listening to the news this morning, I realized that the land wars are becoming heated. We are a fractured society, and the deepest cracks are according to our ethnicity. The wounds are glaring open, wide, and the leaders are steadily ferrying us to the cliff.

God help Uganda.

I am worried, but I may not be able to do anything.

The people who can do something are not talking, and venom comes out when they breath. And a military man is threatening force, the usual ‘solution’ which incenses others. And others are looking on, not likely to step in between these raging elephants. Uganda, after a few years of ethnic peace, is tittering on the verge of rupture. At least that is what I see, but my leaders? Well, the ego is a wonderful thing.

Wish I could get the beloved leader by the ears and shake his bald head a bit. When a general in the army threatens military intervention in the parliament- something is going wrong.

Oh well, life will continue. Hopefully, sense will return to us. The probability of that is low.

So, I will continue looking out the window at the sun, which has now strengthened and is well into midday heat. The afternoon will be sizzling. Yes, it will be.

GayUganda

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sex and Hypocrisy, Cultural contexts

It’s a fact that our take on life differs from one community to another.

I have been reading this article- N.Y.'s Spitzer linked to prostitution ring. In short, the Governor of one of the states in the US was caught on tape arranging for a sex worker to meet him.

Sex is an interesting thing. It grabs the attention of humans like nothing else does.

In Uganda, we tend not to talk about sex. (Not in 'polite' society, the ‘savedee’ community is so big, and so vocal, that many tend to forget that sex is a major topic in the majority of the community.)

But it is a fact that people talk about sex and sexual things and the First Lady and fellow ‘Abstinence Campaigners’ are living in cloud cuckoo land. We do have sex, lots of sex, gay and straight.

And the culture of not talking about it in ‘polite’ society is so heavy that when one listens to those who shout, you may be forgiven to think that sex is not on the minds of Ugandans.

For example, most men in Uganda are polygamous. Matter of fact. It is the African way. On one memorable occasion, I listened with horror as the President of the country told the UN General Assembly that in Africa, we do not kill women. We marry them.

Horrible, when you think of what has been happening in the north of the country for years with rape as a weapon of war, as it is in the DRC. And the reports of rape, men, and women in Kenya.

Anyway, sex is this taboo subject which the political correctness of hypocrisy means that it may be considered a faux pas to intimate that the President does have other wives, other than the First Lady who preaches abstinence. I will not mention the First Ladies of Kenya!!

So, the New York governor gets a hooker, and pays her the equivalent of 5 Million Uganda Shillings for services provided (2 hours; and people wonder why Africans want to storm the promised dollar lands of Europe and the Americas!).

Poor guy, he is caught on tape. And, more than that, it is revealed to the press.

We are hypocrites in Africa about sex, but I must say that it is the new culture of sexual abstinence which has made us this bad. We used not to talk about sex, but talk about it so much that we did not need to put it out in the public domain. I mean, for me to say that my myriad half brothers and sisters are not because they are not the children of my mother would be seriously wrong. They are part of the clan.

But Americans, those are true sexual hypocrites! A land where sex is free, and at the same time so severely restricted that the mere intimation that Bush does have sex with Laura may be a scandal (except that they are married, so, their sex is sanctified)

In Uganda, something like this may not get a single day’s headlines. Maybe in the red rug, which by the way is headlining the world’s end in 2012. To say that Mao, Gulu District Chairman has a second or third wife on the side, and also sometimes takes a prostitute to a lodge, well, that is typical male behaviour. The Mayor of Kampala has the religion sanctioned 4, if I am not mistaken. And women? It is said that a man can never be sure that a child is his until his wife dies without repudiating the fact. (Or, these days, one can get a DNA test done to prove or disprove the facts.)

Ok, sex talk and hypocrisy, they seem to go hand in hand. Have to remember that I can only be gay in cyber space, but if you come to me person to person and demand whether I am, I will tell you, without a blink that I AM NOT GAY.

So, I am also a hypocrite. Bite me!

GayUganda

A Day of Shadows?

In truth it is not, a day of shadows. Just that the sun was bright in the morning, and now the afternoon is shadowed. Maybe there will be some rain, later, in a few hours. And maybe the smile on the sun’s face will soon be restored.

But at the moment, there is an overcast, and a breeze, un-directional, tugging at the trees and the leaves. And there is a drizzle, which may become rain by the time I finish posting this.

But there is no hurry.

I am convinced that there is something very wrong with the world- from death and mayhem in Darfur, Pakistan, Iraq to nearer home. And I am convinced that violent death is such a feature in the life of man, that it is useless for us to live in castles of cloud, not acknowledging that fact, even when it thrusts itself so insistently into our lives.

Morbid thoughts. Yesterday, was in the Games Shoprite building, Lugogo, when a behemoth of a truck lost control and rolled downhill.

I looked at the scene afterwards. The monster tore through 4 street lights, unstoppable. Even by the huge concrete blocks that are supposed to halt and stop smaller cars. Those blocks are unique to Kampala, I think. So many of our drivers seem to have an affinity hitting roadside lights that the city council decided to put huge blocks of concrete next to them. You hit them, the car wraps itself around that concrete.

This truck passed through them, a ball in a bowling alley scattering the pins; went off the road, rolled back on, then off, passing through a couple of trees. I saw it smashed against another tree, stopped. Just near that new Warid telecom billboard over Jinja Road.

Must have been a terrifying sight.

I was busy waiting, bored, looking up at the ceilings for the best part of an hour during all that fracas. Only saw it when I stepped out of the shoprite building. Into my mind came the thought that we were all very lucky. If it had lost control just a little bit lower on the hill, if it had just gained enough momentum to veer into the Games Store packing, not even the cars in the park would have stopped it. It would have ploughed into the building itself.

Truly a horrible thought.

But it was not to be, and luckily, or unluckily, only one person lost his life. Saw the torn, crumpled remnants of a human being besides the smashed truck. Didn’t go too near.

Poor Ugandans. I listened to some people talk about the accident, and how people rushed to steal things from those involved, including the dead. Typical behaviour, I am afraid. Far cry from Tanzania, where a stranger will go out of his way to help another.

No, it is not a day of shadows. The sun is smiling, though the wind is still unsettled. And I am still alive, though indications are that I am growing older. All this heavy philosophical thought…

Err, someone took umbrage at my massacre of the Queen's language. Funny is, I love it that way. And in my old age, seems I love changing the meanings of words. Which tends to mean that I take the meaning and turn it on its head. Please tell me if you mind, though I am not sure that I will tell you that I will improve. I mean, the only new spots this leopard is going to grow are the white in the hair, showing a degree of senility in my lease on earth.

It is truly a beautiful day out.

Sun on the green leaves, the air stirring, the leaves dancing, not too hot, not cold at all, but like living in paradise. Yesterday I heard someone saying that Kanungu district in the west of Uganda is the most beautiful part of the country. As I look out, now, at this particular moment, I am ready to swear on the head of any deity, that here, where I am, this is the most beautiful place on earth.

Be well

GayUganda

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stupid policies


I am a gay man. I have been shouting about that for so long on this blog that you will forgive me if I stress it again.


But I have been going through the world press and I am amused by something that seems to be ok for a Gay Ugandan. Apparently, there has been a big deal to say about donation of blood and organs in Canada , Britain , and the US.


You see, gay men are taken to be a problematic group. We apparently have so much HIV (!) that it is feared that if we donate blood, and our body organs, then we can spread it around. So, guys in the western countries have been making a lot of noise about their right to donate, blood and organs, 2.


On the other hand are the authorities. They say they are justified, because gay men have a higher rate of HIV than most other groups. So, to protect the rest of the public, they should not donate. But there are other issues to consider. Some of the bans are outright discriminatory. Like where one is never supposed to give blood if you ever had sex with another man (Britain and Canada). Others (Australia) give the last act of sex a year. (But hell, who goes to donate and starts saying when he last had sex with a man? Stupid law, in my opinion!)


In Uganda, the situation is different. Not many people donate blood. Sure, I do know, because it rarely comes on my horizon. And when you go to hospital, you may be informed, asked to bring 'donors' to replace the blood that you or your relative is given.


Fact is, I did donate blood once, sometime ago. I was amused when the counselor asked about my girlfriends, and assumed that I had a number. Actually, I just thought of the guy that I had slept with the previous night.


I was not asked about him. I did not know that I was putting whoever gets my blood at risk. I did not know, and did not assume that I would be at risk of HIV. Simple ignorance.


And you know what, the reason I went to donate the blood was I knew that it would be tested for HIV and I would get the results. Without coughing up any money, paying for the test. A painless way, (err, to the pocket. The pin prick was ‘negligible’. I didn’t jump or cry etc).


But, think of it this way.


In Uganda, the homophobia, official and unofficial, makes sure that I am invisible to the medical community. So, I do not know about the health concerns, including my risk. And of course, I cannot protect anyone with ‘my safe behavior’. Because I do not know what is safe.


And, the blood transfusion people will not dare ask about my boyfriends. They will ask about my girls, who number zero, so they will consider me safe, even if I tell them that fact.


The blindness of ignorance and prejudice.


I must say I am not very conversant with the problem of blood donations and infections as would result from gay men. I mean, I am not sure that I should be ruled out because I am gay. Maybe the fact is that some ‘phobes’ just fear having a part of me within them! Imagine, my blood going to Nsaba Buturo or Ssempa. They may reject it because it is from a gay man!


I will be very responsible.


I will not donate, until I am forced to. And of course if it is in Uganda, despite all the shouting that I have done on this blog, I am not gay because gay Ugandans don’t exist.


Stupid, yes, prejudiced, yes, but that is political correctness!




GayUganda

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lesbians and HIV in Africa

Equable weather. The sun not so hot as mild, a breeze from the lake, and a beautiful shadowing to the rays’ harshness by an overcast.

Once or twice it has threatened to rain, but not past threatening. Something within my bones say there will be no rain. At least not today.

Came across an article on HIV that caused me to blink.

From South Africa. Women who have sex with Women (WSW (ugh!) apparently have a lot of HIV.
Lesbians with HIV.

Reminded me of once when we were in a seminar for the Kuchu community. An HIV positive lady came up to talk about the fact that she was positive. I was seated besides another lady. She was flabbergasted.

“Have you heard her?” she demanded, turning to me, “ She says she got HIV, how could she? Where could she have got it from? Maybe from a man…’

I listened to the other talk. Was not revealed where she got HIV from, but the fact was impressed on us, even lesbians can and do get HIV from one another. Not the preserve of the ‘straights’ as many Ugandans believe. Curiously, in Uganda, gay men believe that they are not at risk of HIV.

Why should they be, when in 25 years of the epidemic, they have not heard of any gay HIV prevention concerns? The HIV preventive programs are more intent on preventing HIV spread by implementing the law against sex between men. Don’t believe me? Check out Ssempa’s words here.

I have looked at the available literature. It is a matter of fact that gay men are a high risk group. And also a matter of fact that gay women are a low risk group.

But you cannot generalize with that without research. In South Africa, lesbians are at risk because of a number of factors, including ‘curative rape’, unprotected sex, and the lack of knowledge. Would be interesting to ask lesbians in Uganda whether they are at risk. Bet you they would say they are not.

Gay men were asked, and they did not think they were at risk.

One of the problems, a hidden, closeted society. A society of the shadows.
One thing is sure. Kuchus will have to work on an HIV prevention campaign themselves if they are to go past the official inertia and homophobia.

GayUganda

Touchy

I’m a touchy person

together, my hand always

finds its way to his skin-

the warmth, smoothness to feel

and trace love’s letters clean

on his soul, him.


I’m a touchy person

in joy wrapping myself skin to skin

round him in bed, warm

his length to mine pressed

his warmth to mine melded

breaths bathing each the other’s face;


I’m a touchy person-

compelled; him to hold, close

together, my heart and his wrapped;

knowledge our love a blanket.




(c)GayUganda 09 Mar, 08