Someone gave me the advice to remember to live.
Certainly. That is the whole aim of this. That I, as a gay Ugandan, may have the chance to actually live without fear, and be happy.
Well, today, I had a chance to catch up on one little thing that I had let be, for a while.
First, a reminder. I come from a traditional African family. [don’t you be deceived by Bahati’s traditional family. That is a ‘foreign concept’- the Christian, monogamous family.]
Traditional African family. In my case, that means I have six brothers, six sisters, one deceased brother, all my father's acknowledged children. Dad has more than 20 grand kids now. And counting.
Surprised? How many mothers? Well, I count my mum. The others,… kind of hard to enumerate all of them. At the moment, Dad …. But that is going too far.
Traditional African family. True. Let me remind you of another, a famous one. Barack Obama Sr. 3 wives, and how many kids? Don’t remember. The Kenyan president still has his wives fighting over who is the First Lady. And, Jacob Zuma of
? 3 wives, not counting the one he didn’t rape and wash afterwards to stop himself from catching HIV. South Africa
Uh? So, now, you understand how ‘traditional’ the African family that MP Bahati is defending in his famous bill. The Anti-Homosexual Bill of
Back to me. My elder brother, well, half brother, but that is neither here nor there. My elder brother is a Pentecostal pastor. Like dear Ssempa. Fire and brimstone, and all the shades in between. One of those that are always on the move up and down, going to
to preach. I am not sure whether he is in the ‘Family’… Digression. America
About three years ago, I took my courage by the horns, and made the journey to his home. Way out of
. And, I told him that his younger bro, me, is a homosexual. Yes, I did come out to him. Kampala
He was shocked. But, was slow to react.
So, I spent the day with him, and he had lots of questions about what I am. But, did he understand? I thought that interview had gone well.
Till, over the next few months, he started sending me messages, telling me how bad being gay was, how un-natural, how I was meant to get a woman and have children. etc.
I was silent. Gave him the silent treatment for a long while. And, he stopped sending the unwelcome messages to repent and return to faith.
Recently, I suddenly thought that it was enough. He was my old playmate, and, he deserved to know a bit more, other than the prejudicial things that he had learnt.
Well, actually, I wanted a favour of him. And, he saw it as a chance to reconnect with a brother and best friend. In childhood, he was the hell raiser. I was the quiet one, the one who inspired him to faith in Christ. Cant believe that now!
Long story. Short, we met, on the dot. I was surprised. Not used to un-lateness.
We exchanged pleasantries, news of home, families, etc. It was in the
. Am told it is an old cruising place… And, there were lots of people scattered around on the brilliant green. A fantastic bright sunny African afternoon. Sheraton Gardens
Then I took the plunge. Asked the favour.
Inevitably, it led to my sexuality. And I opened up on that. And, it led to my lack of faith, which I was ready to talk about. Ha! I could see he was a bit puzzled. Here was a sinner ready to frankly and openly talk about his every sin, and declare them not sins. Out, demon!
But, we have always known how to communicate. Him and I.
We isolated the problems. My lack of faith. Well, I stood up to my lack of faith, and refused to tie it down to my sexuality.
He probed deeper, and I refused to give way. I don’t believe. I realy like the freedom of the fence, thank you very much.
Somehow, he probed right into the boil of my disenchantment with what Ugandan Christians say about my sexuality. He brought about the ‘un-natural’ argument. I told him even in animals, there is homosexuality. He brought out the square plug and round socket thing. I laughed, and demanded, who made the plug and socket? Wasn’t it a man? Who made me? Was it man or god? How dare he decide where the penis should go?
Pretty graphic. But then, I knew where I was going. And, a spade being a spade was no big deal. I asked him whether he has oral sex with his wife. Shock. Disbelief. Well, then, I asked him whether a man and woman cannot have anal sex. Yes, they can. So, what if they can do so in their marital bed, would he condemn them for having ‘un-natural’ sex? Why did he feel that he had the right to condemn me and my partner? Who made him judge of what is right?
I was warming up. And, then came the derision and bitterness. The lies that Christians told about us. They don’t know the smallest thing about us. They tell lies. I enumerated them. We are evil. We are bad. We recruit. We can change. We, homosexuals, are the worst of sinners. We homosexuals are ‘foreign influenced’. I laughed at that. He tried to intimate that I had become ‘gay’ after some time outside the country. I told him that showed his lack of knowledge. I asked him when he knew that he was attracted to women. After puberty of course. And I? Likewise.
He was incredulous. So, the time that I impressed him with my faith I was actually struggling with my sexuality? Yes, matter of fact, I was. Maybe I had not prayed enough. My laugh was sardonic. I asked him to answer for himself that question. Could he believe the brother that he had described, wholly dedicated to Christ, could not have prayed about this damn condemned difference? Did he think that I had wanted to be homosexual at that time?
Well, he was shaken. All my anger, bitterness, was flowing out.
Maybe I have been storing up this bitterness. I intimated before that it acts like a motivator. Something, an anger that I can tap on in times of need. He had scratched too deeply. And, I was soon in full cry.
I know he is heterosexual. That is fine. I am homosexual. And, that is what god made me to be. He was incredulous. God makes only perfect things.
I demurred. His idea of god was of a perfect creator. He had determined that me, part of creation was imperfect. But, was he god? What right had he to determine what part of creation was perfect and what was not?
Three times he invited me to Christ. Reminding me of the faith that I used to have, the faith that had impressed him in our childhood. I declined. Respectfully. No need to labour that.
Then, back to my sexuality. And my bitterness. The pastors, I was getting them wrong. They loved the sinner… I was sarcastic. Yes, they loved me so much that, after the bill became law, he was supposed to report me to the police within 24 hours. Silence.
Oh, yes. I shook him up. Probably, he was not prepared for all that bitterness and anger. Well, in the middle of the diatribe, I did warn him that, he was my brother, but, as one of the pontificating pastors, I was relieving myself of all the things that I would have said to the others.
We parted, after a very long talk.
I felt sated. Vindicated. I had let go a lot of the poison I keep accumulating and storing up in that reactor space. Of course, it is still there. That is why the words fly off the fingers like this.
But, I think I gained back my brother. If I am not mistaken, I left a very puzzled, thoughtful pastor there. Trying to reconcile what he thought he knew about homosexuality, and what his eyes had been opened to.
Maybe. After all, that is what I thought the first time…. But, I am hopeful.
And, I am beginning to pick up more of the strings of my life.