Monday, August 31, 2009

Julie to Julius


He kept it a secret, until he could not keep quiet any more. Eunice Rukundo writes about a man who was brought up as a woman until he stood his ground

He is not your ultimate tight abs guy with a firm behind and muscular arms, but Julius Kaggwa is in all essence, a man. A notch too chubby maybe, slightly below average height and a bit too rounded but he is still not the least masculine man you have come across.

For the first 17 years of his life however, Kaggwa, 39, lived as a female and is in fact referred to as Gayaza High School’s only ‘Old Boy’. Registered there as Juliet Kaggwa, he did his O’ Levels between 1984 and 1987, sleeping in Hutchinson House.

“When I first came out with the truth about my gender, some of my OGs admitted they’d at one time found me weird. One even said she’d suspected I could have been male but banished the thought instantly,” he reveals.

At the time, he was 17 at Makerere High school, a mixed school where he had relocated for his A levels. “We’d been praying with one OG of mine who was still at Gayaza when I’d blurted out ‘You know I’m not exactly a girl’. That was the first time I’d ever said it out loud and it felt good, light on my shoulders, to have let out the secret without fearing I was going to die,” recounts Kaggwa.

Julius Kaggwa

Kaggwa had first noticed ‘she’ was different from the other girls in Primary Six in Natale Primary School in Kyaggwe, when she followed them up the hill to perform girl rituals commonly known as ‘visiting the bush’ among the Baganda. “It was when the girls took off their panties that I realised they didn’t look like me.”

Where she had a vagina with a penis protruding at its base through which she urinated, the other girls only had a vagina.

“I had only been in boarding school that year. I think mum had taken me there to protect me from possible gossip from the slummy neighbourhood in Ndeeba where we lived,” he says. At home, the fourth born with two brothers and three sisters, Juliet had been brought up to be secretive about her nakedness, never visiting relatives or playing about naked like other children for fear of being found out and stigmatised. Now for the first time, she thought she knew why, but it seemed too complicated for a 10 year old to comprehend. She became more guarded and withdrawn, awaiting her mother’s next weekly visit to inquire about why she was different.

“First she told me we were all different but I insisted I had been the only one among all the other girls like me.” Left with no choice, Aida Kaggwa must have realised then that she couldn’t protect her child from the truth much longer. Then would be when she admited to her daughter that indeed she was different, per the circumstances of her birth.

Born both a girl and a boy

When her baby was born and Ms Kaggwa inquired after its sex, the midwives looked at each other and said nothing. They just whispered in bewilderment. When she saw her baby, she understood why. The baby was neither boy nor girl. It was both. Ms Kaggwa was both religious and a traditionalist. Her first instinct however was that this was witchcraft. At the shrine, she was told it was no mistake that her baby was born ambiguous, she was in fact a special child chosen to serve the spirits when the time was right. In the meantime, they were to concentrate on bringing her up as a girl or it would die since the responsible spirit was female, the great grandmother’s.

While his father, loving and gentle with his strange daughter, was a fleeting image in his life because of his business that took him far from home most of the time, his mother was around and seemed to have dedicated her life to keeping him comfortable, alive and as normal as possible.

“She got me herbs which were to keep me feminine, talked to nurses in school who helped keep my secret from other people when I joined boarding school in P.6 and changed my schools too often for anyone to realise I was different.”

Until the incident at the hill, the burden of his identity crisis had only been incurred by his mother. As puberty hormones set in though and ‘she’ started to experience the effects of this difference. He started to understand that his difference wasn’t as minor as his mother tried to make him believe.

“I believed her when she said everything would be fine but I started to struggle with more differences internally especially when I joined Gayaza. The usual girl chirping for instance irritated me. I always felt like doing more vigorous non-feminine things like escaping from school and I felt myself involuntarily responding to girls’ nakedness in a confusing way,” he says.

He developed breasts but along with them hair on his legs. “I felt more male than female inside. Puberty was a very confusing and difficult phase for me,” he says. To keep his confusion in check, Kaggwa started to add hormonal pills to a much bigger collection of herbal medicine by now, which he bathed, steamed herself in and drunk, under the school nurses’ protection. Bathing was a challenge; when he didn’t bathe long after bathing hours, he missed it altogether and got in trouble for it sometimes.

He would have wanted to let go and be whatever he felt but for the warning that he would die if not brought up as a girl. He took refuge in the school chapel instead, preaching, singing and praying that he would one day wake up a normal girl. When he found himself developing funny feelings for his choir mates too, Kaggwa knew he wouldn’t survive much longer in Gayaza and therefore went to a mixed day school for A’ Level.

There he meditated on his life seriously for the first time and knew he didn’t want to live in fear and hiding forever. “I wanted to be whatever but freely like everyone else. Blurting out my secret was like testing the waters. It worked wonders.”

Kaggwa never looked back after that first confession. In no time he had sought counsellors who explained what was happening and linked him to medical personnel. He discovered his problem was more biological than spiritual and could have in fact been treated much earlier. It took a lot of psychological and physical treatment but by 2000, Juliet was Julius, with proper male genitalia and no breasts.

His parents had both passed on by then. On her death bed, his mother begged him to stay far away from this land. “There’s a belief, spirits don’t follow one beyond the oceans. She believed I would be safer away now that she wasn’t around to protect me,” he explains.

Julius was scared for a while too and kept away in South Africa, Nairobi and other countries but later decided enough was enough. God must have preserved him for a purpose, most likely to help others like him be free. Today, married with two children, Julius’ life story is published in a book he wrote in 1997, Juliet to Julius. He has started up the Support Initiative for People with Atypical Sex Development (SIPD), and even appeared on Betty Tibaleka’s The Unstold Story show on UBC, to encourage others like him out there to speak out and be helped.

It’s many years since he was a young man trapped in a girl’s image but no one shades 17 years of their life that easily. Julius still has to consciously hold himself back from responding whenever anyone calls out Juliet in his hearing and he admits the no bathing habit also stuck to a significant extent.

Kaggwa was born with an intersex condition

What most parents, like Julius Kaggwa’s, would instinctively blame on witchcraft is medically referred to as an intersex condition, biologically explained as the unusual development of physical sex characteristics.

Kaggwa’s condition was evident at birth due to the abnormality in the external genitals. There are incidences however where the abnormality is with the internal reproductive organs, sex chromosomes, or sex-related hormones. Dr E.B. Mwesiga, a gynecologist consultant at City Hospital says that in this case, the condition becomes apparent later in life around puberty when one lacks or has something extra.

“I sit in a taxi sometimes and see someone I’m almost sure is an intersex case even if they may not know. Muscular bearded women with deep male voices, men with breasts and hips and the like,” says Kaggwa.

Many intersex conditions discovered late in life are associated with infertility and sexuality issues., an American Psychological Association website explains that delayed or absent signs of puberty may be the first indication that an intersex condition exists; a hairy girl who doesn’t menstruate for instance, and develops more masculine than feminine features around puberty, or a boy who among others develops breasts.

“There are drugs, disease and environment conditions that could result in development of these features though so it is not necessarily always an intersex condition when a man develops breasts or a woman beards. Their genetic constitution has to be determined first to confirm,” warns Dr Mwesiga.

Intersex cases are otherwise also most likely to display gender-atypical behaviours or interests; for instance some forms of intersexuality in the females will result into girls being tomboys.

Sexually, says, although most intersex persons grow up to be heterosexual, some specific intersex conditions seem to have an increased likelihood of growing up to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual adults.

Kaggwa says unsuspected incidences like infertility, intolerance of sex by a female because it hurts among women could be due to existence of an intersex condition. “If her reproductive system inside is male, it means she has no vaginal canal or functioning ovaries hence infertility and obviously painful sex because the penis has no where to penetrate to,” reasons Kaggwa.

According to Dr Mwesiga, the basis for allocating gender, while it may be due to raring or physical composition, should be according to the chromosome composition. He explains that gender determining genes are XY and if one’s composition contains a Y, they are male and if they lack it, then they are female.

“These could however get distorted during development in the womb resulting into gender ambiguity,” he says. Kaggwa for instance had XXY composition, which means although he was male the extra X resulted into female hormonal production and feature formation.

Unfortunately, the lack of information about intersex conditions makes it more unbearable in a country like Uganda.

“The standard solution among the most women is that a child that is born like I was is killed or dumped because it is attributed to witch craft or bad omen,” says Kaggwa. He tells of a woman with a three month old daughter with ambiguous genitalia whose mother has looked for ways of disposing her off but only been held back by motherly love.

“It is a bad omen I know and I have tried to leave her on the road or bush but I can’t take the thought of her being eaten by a wild animal or car crashing her,” lamented the mother as she begged Kaggwa to take the baby because she was a bad omen for her family and would be killed.

Intersex conditions are correctable

With surgery, the physical abnormalities are corrected, even as early as at birth. The hormonal imbalances that will make a man bear breasts for instance can also be corrected with hormonal therapy.

From experience however, Kaggwa says in cases when this correction comes later in life, it also takes a lot of psychological treatment to heal the trauma of leaving with the confusion and stigma of being intersex.

He tells another story of a boy here in Uganda who was dumped at his uncle’s place by the mother as a baby because he was born intersex and was only discovered recently, now undergoing treatment. “He will be a normal boy now but the trauma he has gone through will leave its mark,” regrets Kaggwa. When his uncle couldn’t look after him anymore because of poverty, he published his condition in the media hoping to make money out of his condition. 16 years old now, he had dropped out of school in P.6 to escape his school mates’ taunts about his condition.

“He got help through the same publicity but it was late; he had become a sort of attraction for the locals who paid to see him and we don’t know how to get him back to school now,” explains Kaggwa.

What if the condition is not corrected?

With the inadequacy of the information on intersexuality, there are definitely many people that don’t get treatment especially those with the subtler forms.

Even when one can take the discomfort of the effects like infertility and identity ambiguity after puberty, lack of treatment poses health issues. “The tests had found that I had an ovary much as I had testes. It was first left inside because the doctors thought it would be harmless. I had to have it removed recently however because it had started to become infected and could have gotten cancerous,” says Kaggwa.

Where to get help in Uganda
Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD) located in Rubaga-Wakaliga provides support for intersex people with counselling, information, and referrals for medical and other social support. SIPD has established support networks with doctors at International Hospital in Kampala, at Kampala Family Clinic and at CoRSU rehabilitation hospital in Entebbe. “We are working to widen medical and psychosocial support all over the country,” says Kaggwa, Director, SIPD.

Contact SIPD on P.O Box 16618 Wandegeya. Uganda

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Circumcision Politics

Came across this article. Gosh, man is a political animal.

Not yet sure whether circumcision protects gay men from HIV. Seems as if the scientific consensus on that is not formed. But, it is a political issue.
Article is worth a read.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ex Gay

When I heard the news about George Oundo, I was stuck by one thing.

Ok, has been on my mind a lot. Not the glee about Ssempa being bitten by Oundo. Nor the fact that I had predicted it. But by who made the announcement. Paul Kagaba, as Chairman of a group called ‘Ex Gay Uganda’.

It may be no coincidence that the name is a derivative of this blog. Morbid fame, of a sort.

But there is something underneath, something morbidly funny about what Ssempa has done.

George Oundo, aka ‘Georgina’ was a flaming queen of queens.

I wish I had a photo of him in his regalia. A flaming, shocking homosexual. Shocking to the eyes, happy to play on that shock value in his life. He played on it. When most of us were hiding our sexuality to the best of our ability, he was out there, showing it to the world. Oh, that was George. The real, natural, uncamouflaged George Oundo.

Ssempa took this individual, and accepted that in about a month of conversations with him, he became heterosexual. In another month, he had turned him into an activist, for the anti-gay agenda.

Truth is, George Oundo in this case has also been a victim. Of Ssempa’s over weaning ambition. A willing, and paid up victim. But a victim.

Ssempa should know enough (bar his lack of good common sense), that a ‘homosexual’ cannot become heterosexual, at the snap of Ssempa’s finger. I know that I cannot become heterosexual. I trust medical science enough. I mean, I cannot believe that major scientific societies can go out of their way to affirm that I cannot be ‘cured’ of homosexuality. They have studied what I am. They have had a lot of time, data and human history to come to a conclusion. Ssempa negated all that history.

I have read histories of ‘ex-gay’ people.

And, I know my own history. Yes, once upon a time, soon after coming to terms with the fact that I was homosexual, the over aching desire of my heart was to win free of this curse. I saw it as a curse. That was me, at that time.

I was a Christian. I prayed. I fasted. I cut myself off all manifestations of sexuality. I ‘believed’ that I could be healed, and that I was healed of this cancerous manifestation of sin in my weak body. I was deceived. I was self deceiving.

And, I have read the histories of ‘ex-ex-gay’ people. We are all human beings. And, if we are true to ourselves, it is not hard to understand the kind of hell a person can, and will go through, trying to deny his or her normal, god endowed sexuality in the name of a mirage. We are human. And for the sake of the ideals we believe in, we shall try.

I don’t blame nobody for trying. I tried myself. And failed.

But I am not happy with anyone who convinces others that one will succed. In the name of God. That is a blasphemy, of the highest order.

Anyway, Ssempa was convinced that he had achieved this miracle with George Oundo in about a month. (Even Exodus International would not declare success in less than a couple of years!!!!! A miracle indeed.)

But then came the most shameless exploitation of a vulnerable person for the sake of another political ambitions.

Dear Pastor Ssempa took the new George, the ‘healed’ George, and started parading him on television, on fm radio, at rallies, and in church. He had a huge story to tell. How he was snared into homosexuality. How he was snaring others into homosexuality. How he was healed. George didn’t have much to say, beyond that. George being George, started coming up with some fantasies. (Truth to tell, he was in a situation where, fed by what the others believed, he just had to ‘confirm’, their prejudices, and he would be believed. Even when telling huge, self evident lies. He was simply the concrete evidence that they had been looking for. And they didn’t question this free food on a platter. Even when they were ‘paying’ for it. Wonder why these fools were led to believe the conman who led them down the Kayanja path?.) There was a ‘Homosexual Agenda’. It was being funded by big donors from outside the country. There was lots of money being spent on it, up to a million Uganda shillings a day. He had gone to Nairobi for training. Recruitment was being done in schools and universities. etc, etc, etc.

The more the spotlight grew on him, the happier the anti-gay movement was. Their god breathed, god blessed plan was going on. George told lies. I protested about them on this blog, and wondered how it was possible to believe these naked lies. But I cant be believed. Because I am gay, and an unrepentant one. One anonymous commentor who engaged me a lot castigated me to let George tell his story.

Well, George did tell his story.

And, he was sending us sms messages telling us how he was starving. Sexually. Problem was, no one at that time wanted to be known as knowing the premier homosexual of Uganda. Reformed homosexual, that was. Not even his stable of boys, many of who, at that time, he had led to Ssempa. And they had sworn to being cured, also.

Er, the craze was a big thing. People were being cured, left right and centre. Some of us were being blackmailed or extorted. Dear George is not a very nice character, as a matter of fact. And, the price to pay for being kept out of the newspapers was to cater to his lifestyle. His new celebrity status.

The pendulum swung. Reached its zenith, and swung back.

Slowly, but surely, George’s true nature has come up.

Poor Ssempa. Stung by the one he paid to smear Kayanja, and now by George Oundo, the prince of ex-gays. The result was as inevitable as inevitable.

Poor George Oundo. Reaping the results of his self deception. Maybe I shouldn’t pity him in anyway. Stupidity has its own rewards. And there is a reward in being honest with one’s self. It is called self respect.

Pity the other guys, the ones collected in the group ‘Ex Gay Uganda’. Pity them, for they are at the mercy of a shameless, power hungry politician. They may never know it, but they will dance to the strings of Pastor Ssempa until they fall. Pity Paul Kagaba, who is in it for the money and nothing else.

ugh, pity gug, for salivating over the fall of an enemy!!!!! Oh well, forgive me, but I was realy hurt by Ssempa, Oundo and co. They hurt me in more ways than one. Have to remember, and release some of that venom. Of course, some of the scars are permanent. But that is life. We fall, get up, move on. That is life.

But, it has been a great day…!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

George Oundo is now Ex-ex-Gay

Good God in Heaven!!!!!
It is not seemly to be happy when an enemy falls, and falls heavily, but you will forgive my unseemly glee.

Remember George Oundo?

The ex-gay man. Ex-gay, and very vocal Ssempa activist. A truly Ssempa activist, shouting, outing, castigating, and telling people how he slept with so and so. Including a famous ‘priest’. He accused us of so many heinous things that… Which good old Ugandans couldn’t help believing. What can a homosexual not be capable of? As a reward to his fervency, he was given a house to stay in. And, wonder of wonders, he has been expelled from the Ex-Gay Uganda group. Problem?

Ah, glee on my part, the problem is that, this guy, who is the face of the Ex-gay movement here, who has gone around telling people that we ‘recruit’ and have a vice, and other nerferious things. Well, he has turned out to be ex-ex-gay. Still wants the lusts of the flesh. In the direction that the good Lord blessed him with.

According to Paul Kagaba, Ex-Gay Uganda Chairman, Oundo was taking boys to be ‘sodomised’ to his house. What I could have told Kagaba, and I have known for a few weeks, is that Oundo has been going around asking kuchus for ‘forgiveness’.

That news was on Capital FM. Just heard it. And, in my glee, had to blog about it.

Time to say ‘I told you so’

First to Ssempa. Well, told you that you were not very bright. Burnt by Sam Mukasa, the Kayanja accuser, and now burnt by your darling George Oundo.

Cant believe what Ssempa is thinking at the moment. I mean, he was on such a roll, that the trough must be a little giddy. He had made Oundo into something huge. Going the rounds, talking, talking, on TV, radio, at anti-homosexual rallies. And all the time the hypocrite was quietly doing what he was publicly abusing.

Good for you Oundo.

In previous posts I warned Ssempa. And I warned others. Oundo was, and is poison. Course he is gay. A queen, through and through. Ugh, you think he will change again? He will change back. Of that I am sure.

And, some more predictions. Mr Paul Kagaba? Ex-Gay Chairman… I am predicting that it is money for him. Money, money, the bucks. Watch and see. I do know him. Why, I saw him at my favorite bar last week, and am more or less sure that he was on cruising. Ha ha ha!

Oh, my nose. Have to blow it. Heavily.

Gathered more info. The usual kuchu circles… Apparently, George was caught in ‘red handed’. But that would mean that the good Pastor Ssempa should be reporting him to police, doesn’t it? I will keep one ear to the ground…!


Thurs Afternoon

It’s a day of wind
and quiet thoughtfulness.

What is there to think about? A lot, I think. Just had a surprise encounter with a former boyfriend. The circumstances were formal, and interesting. And, they revealed something about him that I didn’t expect.

Ok. He is positive. HIV positive.

That revelation is always a threat. Knowing that a person is positive. Knowing that one is, or is not, or how they think about it. Why? Because I am human. Because we are all human. And sometimes, many times, we are confronted by our own fears and prejudices. Or remnants of the same.

So, didn’t talk much with the guy. Didn’t share, didn’t ask what has been happening. In truth, I was not tongue tied by the surprise realization. Was too brief an encounter. But it makes me remember myself. Who I am.

And the many ways that we humans exclude others, on the barest, most minimal grounds. So, it is a matter of fact that most HIV positive kuchus don’t want to come out. They don’t want other kuchus to know. Because they are also human beings, and they know that fellow kuchus will stigmatise them just because they are positive. Cant blame only Ugandans. Happens in other countries too. Life is rough, raw and interesting. Kuchu life that is. Always something small, interesting to throw into the fray.

Reminds me of Castor Semenye. A good, interesting, uplifting modern tale of good.

A nation has rallied around her. At the moment when she could have been shamed and thrown to the gossip columns, her country mates have turned the tables. World wide sympathy and an outpouring of love for the young lady has turned the IAAF into the ogre in this story. I laughed when someone sent me a petition to sign, to ‘keep the IAAF out of Caster Semenye’s pants’. Hilarious.

The anger, the outrage is justified.

No, I don’t mean the old catch all phrases, blaming ‘colonialists’ ‘racist’ etc. It is pure and simple a case of trying to throw out a member of the human race from the family of humanity. So, according to the IAAF, she may be too much woman. But most likely she is not man enough. She will not conform to the small labels of man, woman.

But, and this is the beautiful thing, a nation, her nation has come out to rally around her, to say, and demand that that doesn’t matter. Instead of it Caster languishing in bitterness alone, she has known the love of her family, her village, her town, her people. Surely, Caster will be strong whatever the ogre, IAAF decide. And, it will be a difficult decision, if Castor is inter-sex. They will have to stand up and tell us how Castor is neither man enough to be a man, nor woman enough to be a woman. But somewhere in the middle. Do remember that one Indian athlete committed suicide on being called neither man nor woman.

The question that pops into my mind would be, does the IAAF have any inter-sex category where she can compete?

But it is a beautiful story, a fairy story that is still on going, that has yet to get to a conclusion.

Have a wonderful day.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At Risk of being Misunderstood…

NAMIBIA – 18 August 2009: “Do we really need to promote homosexuality in Karas Region?” Karas Regional Councillor Hilma Nikanor asked after a presentation at a Council meeting on Friday.
Nikanor charged it was “immoral to promote homosexuality” after a presentation on gay and lesbian rights by the Czech Republic based NGO People In Need(PIN) Head of Mission, Hanna Urbanova.
Nikanor claimed that foreign NGOs come to Namibia under the guise of assisting in the country’s socio –economic development, but then embark on programmes promoting “immorality.”
“We are facing development challenges, why spend money on homosexuality?”Nikanor asked.
Supporting her, Oranjemund Constituency Councillor Toivo Nambala, said: “They’re brandishing a funny project.”
Karasburg Constituency Councillor Paulus Ephraim echoed these sentiments, saying that the Council could not entertain programmes detested by national leaders.
For his part, Karas Regional Governor Dawid Boois termed the gay and lesbian issue as “sensitive.”
“Yes, we have gays and lesbians .We cannot ignore that they’re human beings too,” Boois said.
The discussion happened after People In Need’s Urbanova had left the Council chamber. Urbanova’s presentation was about a public sensitisation campaign around gay and lesbian rights to be funded by Dutch NGO Hivos.
Urbanova said Regional Councillors had misunderstood her presentation and that the aim of the project was not to promote homosexuality, but about human rights and tolerance towards sexual minorities.
“How can one promote such a thing, either you’re born a homosexual or heterosexual. That’s it, you can’t change it.” said Urbanova.
The Karas Regional Council decided to have another meeting with the NGO to discuss the issue and to include Regional Councillors David Shoombe and Willem Apollus, who were not present at Friday’s meeting.

South Africa and Gay Christians

Following the lead of the Americans, other churches are stepping up on the challenge of gay laity.

I am aware that the Methodists did not want a gay related measure, but the Episcopalians have led the way, and the Lutherans have also gone their way. Despite the opposition from within the congregations. Yeah, for the methodists, you cannot be Gay and Christian. Or Methodist. What would Christ say about that???

But, and a big but, here is something that is happening in South Africa. Part of the Anglican Communion, this in Africa, is starting to do something about gay sheep. The other sheep, indeed!

Here is the article

August 23 2009 at 10:52PM
By Staff Reporter
The Anglican Church in the southern part of Africa has taken a small step towards accepting gay people in "faithful, committed relationships" - although civil marriage between same sexes is not legal in any of these countries other than South Africa.
The Anglican Diocese of Cape Town, which includes Anglican bishops from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Angola, passed a resolution at the weekend asking the church's bishops to provide pastoral guidelines for gay parishioners living in "covenanted partnerships".
The resolution was proposed by St George's Cathedral clergy, as they said the parish had come to be seen as a "safe space" for gay Christians in Cape Town.
The Cathedral needed guidelines to help it provide pastoral care to gay parishioners in same-sex relationships.
Globally, the Anglican Church does not accept same-sex marriages. The Anglican Consultative Council, which represents Anglican Churches around the world, has put a moratorium on the "authorisation of public rites of blessing for same-sex unions".
On Sunday, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said the synod's resolution might be seen as tame, but he saw it as "an important first step to saying: 'Lord, how do we do ministry in this context?'"
"I'm a developmental person. I don't believe in big bangs. If you throw a little pebble into water, it sends out concentric circles and hopefully that way change comes from that," he said.
He said the issue of same-sex partnerships has led to a schism in the Anglican Church in the United States. He wanted to avoid the issue becoming a source of division in the Anglican Church in southern Africa.
"In South Africa we have laws that approve a civil union in this context, but not in the other countries within our province. In central Africa and north Africa, both the Anglican Church and the state say 'no'.
'I am not one for numbers'
"The reason for this resolution was because we have these parishioners, and the law provides for them to be in that state, so how do we pastorally respond to that?" Makgoba said.
Asked how close the voting was, Makgoba replied: "I am not one for numbers, but for the quality of the debate."

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Beautiful Country

I don’t know when I love it most. When it rains, in the season of wet, the mornings are bright and cool. Sun is a globe of bright flooding the land, hot on the skin, yet not too hot. There is moisture in the air, wet, and calm, and peace, and the air is clean.
When it is dry, that is also a lovely time. Now I remember it, the sun hot, very hot. A furnace that reaches out with golden heat throughout the day, and the land is dry, dusty, red, a haze of orange in the air that lifts at dawn and doesn’t settle till dusk.

It is always beautiful.

Well, it is home, so it is always beautiful.

My parents were not born in Kampala. I grew up in Kampala, and to me it has always been, and will always be home. But of course, I have, or am supposed to have a ‘village’, place where my ancestors are buried, and where we go for the rituals… So, that is supposed to be my home. But to me, Kampala is home.
City sprawling, eating up the hills in the recent years at a phenomenal rate. Downtown, buildings are torn down, fall, and are raised overnight. Ants, we seem to build day and night. Literally. Labour is cheap, human life a commodity to be traded, willingly. And the muscle men and those who sell their lives labour to put up structures, deep into the nights. The world wide down turn seems not to have affected the country. But it did. We depend too much on ‘aid’. And that slowed, of course.

Downtown is down and dirty. Filthy. A battle on dirt that is never worn, especially in the rainy season. Concrete towers, some unbelievably ugly, others unbelievably old. The slums, with mud and wattle now being replaced by warrens of burnt brick and cement single room tenements. People live together riotously. Children play, water courses in the paths between the buildings, mud, dust and other nefarious things play hide and seek.

In the suburbs, the pressure on the land is less. A little less, but is there. I see it daily, so much that I no longer see it. The generations, from babies to elders, the gangly youths and confident others. Life goes on at a pace, a little more rapid than usual, but a definite clip.

Our house is in a sort of hollow, but not at the bottom. More like the side of a hill. Look out to the west far into the distance, a valley. Green, stitched and cut with the red and bright of baati. The green of trees struggles valiantly. It will be beaten. Soon. But for now, it is. It will be a sad day when this green valley is choked up with houses. That may be soon, or never. I don’t know. But that will be sad then.

But of now, the valley is low, wide and green, with trees dancing between the blocks of terra we call houses. Shiny baati roofs, some red, some a duller green, with birds singing in the trees and shade near me, and far, and the smell of rain on the air. It is a beautiful country, my country. Uganda.


Amazing Lutherans

In Uganda, in most of Africa, they would consider that the world has ended for something like this to happen. It is so amazing to find that a person of my sexuality is affirmed like so, by people who are not of the same sexuality. That they would risk ‘communion’ with those of their denomination to have me included.

I actually feel overwhelmed by such a thing. Why?

Because, from what our country mates believe, shout, say, we so often believe that we are less than equal, because they say we are. But here is a church which has had the guts, through a democratic process, that is described as long, and tough, and gut wrenching, to come to a momentous, significant decision. To include such as me and mine in Church. Yes, I feel amazed, and humbled, by their faith in such as me.

I wonder, what would Orombi say, of these Christians, of those of his own Church? What would Ssempa say? Most likely that they are not Christians. That they dont have Christ in them. How ironic.

Here is the full article


'Monogamous' Gays Can Serve in ELCA
Largest Lutheran Denomination in U.S. Split on Divisive Issue

By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leaders of the nation's biggest Lutheran denomination voted Friday to allow gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy in the church -- making it one of the largest Christian denominations in the country to significantly open the pulpit to gays.

Previously, only celibate gays were permitted to serve as clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination of 4.8 million members. But delegates to a church assembly voted 559-451 to allow gays in "life-long, monogamous" relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay leaders in the church.

The vote is the culmination of a years-long process in the ELCA, and was accompanied by plenty of emotion at the convention in Minneapolis. After standing in long lines to reach microphones during debates that extended all day, some delegates shook and others cried as they expressed their opposition or support of the measure.

Quoting the Bible and denomination founder Martin Luther, delegates sought to place the decision within their interpretation of their Lutheran faith.

"We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus' time and culture," Tim Mumm, a lay delegate from Wisconsin and supporter of Lutherans Concerned, an gay-rights organization, said during the debate. "We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood."

But other said the recommendations weaken the Biblical standards of the church.

"As Luther taught us, Scripture does not have a wax nose," said the Rev. Ryan Mills, a delegate representing Texas and Louisana. "It cannot be twisted into anything we want it to say. But that's just what we're doing with these following recommendations."

Conservatives tried to derail the vote, losing a ballot that would have required a supermajority of two-thirds to approve the proposal. They lost a similar vote earlier in the week.

Some critics of the proposal predicted its passage could cause individual congregations to leave the ELCA, which is what occurred to the 2 million-member Episcopal Church when it consecrated an openly gay bishop in 2003. Last month, Episcopalians voted to make gays eligible for any ordained ministry.

Most mainline Protestant churches are struggling to balance what many view as Biblical injunctions against the practice of homosexuality with the country's burgeoning gay-rights movement. Among the major mainline denominations, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently defeated a proposal to ordain openly gay pastors, but with a much narrower margin than in previous votes. And United Methodist church leaders faced an emotional debate last year when they upheld their ban on openly gay clergy.

"I really believe . . . what we are about to do will split the church," said ELCA delegate John Sang of Ohio during the debate.

Delegate Terri Stagner-Collier wept as she predicted that opponents would be "ripped away" from the church if the measure were approved. "I urge you not to do this -- not to do this at all," she said, "[for] these people in the pews and in my family."

In essence, the vote puts gays under the same set of rules that have govern heterosexual clergy. They are required to be monogamous if married and to abstain from sexual relations if they are single. Individual congregations would not be compelled to take on pastors who are in same-sex relationships.

The ELCA was formed in 1988 by the merger of three Lutheran organizations, and it has 10,500 churches in the United States, including 80 in the Washington area. It is generally considered the least conservative of the three major present-day Lutheran denominations, although it has a sizable conservative minority.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday afternoon.

It is a beautiful day. Lovely.

Overcast, rain from the east this time, a slow, rolling front, gathering in the sun. Dull? No way. A sense of freshness, a crisp coolness. Now comes the wind preceding the rain, making leaves to sing. Calm. Beautiful. The occasional voice of thunder overhead.

I have just woken up.

Well, Sunday, and afternoon. Means yesterday was Saturday.

Was at my favorite pub. Not as crowded as usual. Thing it was because Ramadan has started. So, will not be seeing my Moslem friends for some time. But the atmosphere was bracing. Music loud, booming. Conversation and alcohol flowing. Beautiful people. Lively.

Went dancing past midnight. Another pub, with a dance floor. Danced with my lover. He was happy. Recent clouds lifted, and we took to the dance floor like we used to. Drew some attention- some jealousy girls who couldn’t break us apart. Not that unusual for a guy to dance with another guy here. Unusual for it to be a couple. Unusual for them to decline women’s offered attention. But the time was special, we were connecting, and despite the attention we were drawing, it was worth it. He was happy. I was happy, and we were dancing. (Yeah, yeah, once we were thrown out of another pub for dancing, but don’t want to repeat that!)

Left late, earlier that I would have wanted, but he wanted bed. Slept, and woke up to some good morning sex. And then more sleep.

Decadent, isn’t it?

And beautiful. Lovely.

Woke up feeling very calm. Seems like there are lots of things to do, that are on my plate, to have finished yesterday. But, and it is a big but, I am alive, am home and loving it. I live.

Some political news. Land wrangles have impinged on my consiousness. I seem to live in a cocoon, my self interest one of the walls around. But the political and social world are stirring. Seems also a political big wig has come back to Uganda… Olara Otunu. Was working in the UN, rose to the level of an ‘undersecretary’ or something like that. Now, he is the hope of the opposition.

Welcome back Mr Otunnu. But, and a big but, in Uganda, the opposition seems to live in courts of law and prison. But you are welcome to your mother land!

Shouldn’t finish this without a gripe. Even the opposition here is homophobic…! Come on, I am a single issue activist. Anyway, was reading how one oppo leader was praising the President for standing up to pressure- to stop homosexuals from gaining ground in Uganda. It wins votes, and, 2011 is election year. Maybe he was just cozening up to the big man…

To my Moslem friends, Happy Ramadan. And to everyone, have a wonderful new week.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Inter Sex: Neither Man, Nor Woman.

Yeah, I like this Black Looks article about the same issue...

Not a man. But not a Woman, either. So, what is she/he?
No, don’t laugh. Because the question that I ask is something that is a daily occurrence. We tend not to think about it. It is automatic. A child is born, and we ask, girl or boy? Our minds have been wound like that. It must be a girl or boy. It cannot be neither of the two and it still is a human being. At least, that is ‘common sense’. Or is it?
The Inter-sex. Neither male nor female.
I first faced this when there was a hullabaloo about Julius. The only male who attended Gayaza High School, one of the premier girls’ (if not THE premier) girls’ college in Uganda. Oh yeah. The guy went ahead and wrote his amazing story in a book, “From Julie to Julius”. A real live story of an inter-sex person living and working in Uganda. Remember Nsubuga Aldrine, the guy who railed against homosexuality in football in Uganda? He was incensed at the questions on Julius’s sex. He had known the guy as a guy, and he was a friend, Aldrine insisted. The guy was a guy’s guy, and let those who questioned his manliness go to hell. To give him his due, Aldrine did defend a friend, from the malicious gossip of the Ugandan society.
I have talked to Julius. He was (or is) a staunch Christian. Attending Kampala Pentecostal Church, the mega church in the middle of Kampala. And when Julius wanted to get married, the church asked him for ‘proofs’ of his maleness. Needless to say, the wedding did happen, but not with the blessing of KPC, now Watoto Church.
Ok, so, now I begin my rant. Or, to educate a tiny, big lil sis of mine, here is the whine.
In the large, wide, heterosexual world ‘sexual minorities’ do not exist, we are punished for being different. That is not a whine. That is reality. That is what happens on a daily, hourly basis. It is not that we don’t exist. It is that we are not thought to exist, and as such, we are excluded from church, from the things which you a good, healthy, heterosexual takes for granted.
So, Julius became a scandal. Like Caster Semenya is at the moment.
Just like good old gug is a scandal. Oh, for gug, it is because he is a male who falls in love with other males. Other men. Different from usual? Of course. But does it happen? Yes, it does. And because it is not common, because it is not the norm, that does not mean that the majority should have a right to persecute and exclude me. Just because I am different.
Now, there ends the whine. Flick, flick, flick. The mud does feel sticky. Flick it off.
Now, now, now. Princess, consider the beauty of our world. The diversity, and what is as it is. You have heard of that runner, the one who is under investigation. So, what will happen after the investigation, and the debate by the experts. Will Caster Semenya be a man or a woman? What will the panel of experts decide? What will happen when the Caster gets to the point of getting married? What will the church say?
What does this say, what challenge do you face here? To stop thinking in staid, old boxes. Life is life. It is not clear black and whites. It is the very shades of the rainbow. It is grays and greens and whites and blacks. It is pale greens and dark oranges, purples and pinks. Life is not an absolute. And, life is beautiful as in-absolute as it is.
I think it is Spiralx who once commented that straight people are boring… And the gay are ‘fabulous’. I think what he meant was that those who consider themselves straight tend to think in a box that is boring. Talk sex, children, parentage, etc, etc. Nevender will come charging with the Bible in hand, to condemn and hit me with it. Me, I will dance and tease him with words. He will not understand me. Because, in his world, god made them male and female. And male has sex with females. Not male with male, not female with female. So, when one who is neither male nor female steps out of God’s creation, what will Nevender say? Do you still read this blog, dude? If you do, what do you say? Should KPC have married Julius? Or not? Is Caster Semenya a man or woman? Is Caster part of God’s beautiful, rainbow varied creation? Yes or no? A challenge to your box of thinking.
To me, proof that the creator never thought in terms of absolutes. Julius, and Castor are, beautiful human beings. Whatever sex a ‘panel of experts’ labels them, they are human beings, like you and me. And, they deserve all the blessings (and curses) that our humanity and our legal systems endow us with. Not to be excluded. Not to be shamed. But to be affirmed. To be held close to heart. To be understood.
Here is to love of all human beings.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gay Prosecutions, Same old, same old...

News from Senegal, by way of IGLHRC.

Oh well, gay men, gay people are continuing to be arrested because they are gay. Same old, same old.

There was a small article that I saw of a Dutch National who is on trial in Gambia. Check it out here.

In Uganda, by the way, gay people have no access to the media. Even when we pay our money. So, here were some members of the gay community, going to the newspapers, in need of publishing a press release. Three media houses; New Vision, Monitor, Observer… And all turned down the request. One did it after payments were made, and the money was refunded. With their regrets.

Oh, the reason why it was rejected? The Media Council is ‘monitoring’ and making sure that homosexuals have no voice in lovely Uganda.

So, good old gug blog is one of the only ways that we can speak out to the world out there.

Same old, same old.

They arrest us. We complain, or whine about the arrests. Inform those who we can. And hope we are not going to be arrested. Same old, same old...

Now, to some brothers who were arrested in Senegal.

Action Alert from IGLHRC

Senegal: Release Men Arrested for Homosexuality in Darou Mousty

Arrests, convictions, and detentions for alleged homosexuality violate the rights to be free from discrimination, to equality before the law, and to privacy.

The Issue

On June 19, 2009, four men from the city of Darou Mousty, in the department of Kébémer in the Louga region, were arrested and subsequently detained at a police station in the city. These four men were arrested for alleged sexual acts "against nature." There are also reports that the police forced these men to reveal the names of people who are supposedly "homosexual." The week of August 10, 2009, two of the men were convicted of "unnatural" offenses, despite the only evidence against them being denunciations from townspeople. One man received a sentence of 2 years in prison and the other 5 years. A third man, who is seventeen years old, will stand trial August 24, 2009 in a court for minors. The status of the fourth is unknown.

Senegal is one of the few francophone African countries that criminalizes homosexuality, under Article 319 of the Senegalese Penal Code. Last year, nine members of AIDES Senegal were arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison for "indecent conduct and unnatural acts" and "conspiracy." The Court of Appeals in Dakar overturned the sentences in April 2009.

Laws criminalizing and detentions of people because of consensual sex between persons of the same sex are arbitrary and violate international law. Such laws violate Articles 2 and 26 on the rights to equality before the law, freedom from discrimination, and privacy of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as stated in Toonen v. Australia (1994) and by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In addition, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated its concern over laws that criminalize "homosexual relations, including those of persons under 18 years old" as being impermissible discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (General Comments 3 & 4, Concluding Observations: Chile, April 2007).

The criminalization of consensual same sex relations runs counter to the guarantees of nondiscrimination and equality before the law in Articles 2, 3, and 28 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and Article 7 of the Senegalese Constitution.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Lovers' tiff this morning.

Kind of spoils everything, colours the day gray, makes life that much less enjoyable. But you know, if love was not such a great thing, I would not, and most would not swear by it.

The day, the morning is really beautiful.

The blazing heat of dry season is a thing of the past. Something in memory, yet it was just a couple of days ago. Now, it is the brittle brightness of the rainy season, a hint of rain, water in the air. Something hard to define in actual words. But let me see if I can try.

Sun rises to the east, hard, bright. The rays hit the leaves green, are reflected into the pure, dustless air. Diffused, scattered under the leaves, and the heat is brought under control. On the skin it is not too hot. But pleasantly warm, a gentle, baking kind of heat, a tickle that invites one to sunbathe.

But it is not long lasting. Soon, clouds in the sky shade the sun. And the air gets a tang of cool that seems to sink to the bone, if you are shirtless, tempted by the heat before. But it is not an unpleasant cool. Not at all.

The wind stirs the leaves, and they dance, touching skin too, with their reminder of rain to come. The promise of water in the air cannot be ignored. Cool, calm, lovely weather. Rain not far away, just round the corner, over the horizon, above the wispy cloud cover. It is there. Possibly an afternoon storm, or an evening cloudburst. All good, all cool, all bright.

Gosh, now I know why I write.

I look out at the valley, the world around me. I see the clear air, the leaves and trees in the distance, the houses, roofs of khaki, red and greens hidden in leaves, and I feel the itch. To take this thing and put it in words. To figure out a way of making it live, spring up and dance on the sheet of paper. The pen is too slow, on the sheet. But not so the fingers on the keyboard. They dance, have a rhythm of their own, and the words flow onto the page. And I feel the relief of my mind un-focusing from my troubles. And focusing on something else. The beauty of my world around me.

It is beautiful. My world. Very beautiful.

Let me share a poem that I read this morning and laughed.

Riches, by DH Lawrence

When I wish I was rich, then I know I am ill.

Because, to tell the truth, I have enough as I am.

So when I catch myself thinking: Ah, if I was rich---!

I say to myself: Hello! I’m not well. My vitality is low.

Here is to hoping that your vitality is high! Have a lovely day today, tomorrow, and everyday.


Medical Science and Sexuality

Written 17 August 2009, and not posted. But I want to post it.. Why not?!

It is afternoon.

Have been doing some work. Reading, and also listening to music.

The sun is overcast. Clouds, grey skies. It is still. Not deathly so. The leaves on trees shiver, now and again. But it does emphasize the fact that it is still. Sunshine is weak, watery, and where I am, the shade is cool. Cold I would say, but I wouldn’t go that far.

Beautiful. Am alone, just enjoying myself. Listening to music. Capital fm. Seem to be into that type of music these days.

Music on the air. And in the distance, children at play. Busy little buggers. Play means noise, in quantity. And they are enjoying themselves.


For some reason decided to delve into medical knowledge of homosexuality. Long story. Ok, short of it, the American Psychiatrist Association released something last week declaring that homosexual change treatment was a sham. That it just was not okay for a doctor to tell a patient that they will change their sexual orientation.

That was last week. Didn’t blog about it. I had set myself the task to read more about it. And, well, procrastinated, till now…!

Anyway, decided, if I am to go medical, then I will seek out the best. Not Wikipedia… Too lite. Emedicine, and the article on homosexuality. Language is hard, I must say (is true, doctors speak another dialect!), but it is simpler than when I first read the article. At least, I understood it better, this time.

When we are debating, matter of fact we fly off the handle too quickly. Logic is replaced by political correctness. Yes, I do it. Often. It is refreshing to read a thoroughly professional article that treats homosexuality like any other thing. No redness to the eyes, no spitting derision. You know, reading some of the Christian right articles on homosexuality, I get the feeling ‘homosexuality’, the word is used like a curse. 'Homosexual' so and so. The 'homosexual' did this and that. A damning label. And then, there is us, the out and proud gay. Gay Uganda… Of course that infuriates others. Someone has even tried to counter that with ExGayUganda, for god’s sake!

Back to the medical article. It is thoughtful. It is balanced, and it is well researched, and thorough. Sorry, I am not qualified to weigh the references. But I think they are solid. And it is empty of politicking. Well, I don’t think Ssempa would like the fact that doctors are warned not to promise patients the nivarna of changing their sexuality. And they are warned that it is a necessity to know, and beware of their own prejudices when dealing with gay patients. Gay human beings. But facts are facts… (except to politicians)

The APA advises that all sides have to note that some gay people will still want change. Don’t promise the impossible, they advise. But explore what is possible. Celibacy, changing churches, etc. Aim not for ‘political correctness’ of one type or another- (what is politically correct in Obama’s America is diametrically opposed to what is politically correct in Ssempa and Nsaba-Buturo’s Uganda), aim not for political correctness, but dealing with the individual in totality. Explore sexuality. Affirm the faith. Let the individual be comfortable with what they are, where they worship. Deal with the whole human being, not an isolated part of the whole.

Very thought provoking. Very thoughtful. Kind of makes me wish to study more of this, with less of my personal blinders. (of course they do have their own uses…!)

Have a great day!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Glimpse into our world of Diversity…

The I in LGBTI

South Africa to test gender of 800-meter runner

By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press Writer Ryan Lucas, Associated Press Writer – 9 mins ago
BERLIN – South Africa's track and field federation had been asked to conduct a gender test on an 800-meter runner amid concerns she does not meet the requirements to compete as a woman.

Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya is a favorite in Wednesday's 800 final at the world championships.

The world track and field federation requested the gender test about three weeks ago, after Semenya burst onto the scene by improving her personal bests in the 800 and 1,500 by huge margins.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said the "extremely complex, difficult" test has been started but that the results were not expected for weeks.

The verification requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender.

"So we're talking about reports that are very long, very time consuming," Davies said.

Semenya qualified for Wednesday's final with the best time of 1 minute, 58.64 seconds. She posted the world's top time this year of 1:56.72 three weeks ago at the African junior championships in Bambous, Mauritius.

It was not clear what would happen if Semenya were to medal in Wednesday's final and the test results determine she does not meet the requirements to compete.

"I can't say that if 'X' happens in the future that we will, for example, retroactively strip results. It's legally very complex," Davies said.

"If there's a problem and it turns out that there's been a fraud ... that someone has changed sex, then obviously it would be much easier to strip results," Davies added. "However, if it's a natural thing and the athlete has always thought she's a woman or been a woman, it's not exactly cheating."

He said a decision in such instances is "done on a case by case basis."

"It's something that would have to be considered by the legal experts at that time," Davies said.

some more detail from CNN

There have been precedents in such cases, the most famous being that of Polish athletics great Stella Walsh, who won Olympic gold in the 100 yards at the 1932 Olympics and silver in the same event in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

However, after she was shot dead during an armed robbery in 1980, the subsequent autopsy revealed she possessed male genitalia, although she also had female characteristics as well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why want to Kill me?

Sad, isn’t it? That someone would want to kill beautiful, fabulous, gug?

Of course it is a matter of perception. I think I am good. Fabulous, handsome, a wonderful human being. Oh, I am good, wanna bet on that? Of course I am gay, but that is neither here nor there. I mean, till I hit on you, and you say no (politely), and I insist on pressing my fabulous attentions on you, you shouldn’t complain. Or at least that is what I think should happen.

Think about it, (assuming that you are an adult), have you had 100% success rate on your passes? Of course, some have miss-fired. Others have succeded beyond your wildest dreams. And some have offended the recipients. Of course. But the problem then was not that you had made the pass. It was that it was not appreciated!

So, who wants to kill me? And why?

I was reading about the vigilante murders of gay men in Iraq. Human Rights Watch (errr 27th, that hopeless international organization that is ‘neo-colonialist’ according to you…) has a report of murders of gay men in Iraq. Why are they murdered? Because they are gay. In the name of god, religion, country, patriotism. In the name of society, of morality. Is there any other reason I have left out?

So, I was wondering. Why do I offend people’s sense of decency so much that they would want to kill me?

It is not a totally rhetorical question.

Our neighbour to the north, Sudan, has death as the punishment for me making love to my lover. Forgive me if I say that I find that absolutely un-understandable. I mean, I love the man. I realy, truly love him. Mushy, teary, poetic kind of love. The kind that makes me ache when I don’t see him, which makes me long to be with him all the time. The kind that looks for him on a hot, long day, eyes lighting up with pleasure at the mere sight of him, memory of the smell of his warm skin. It is all good, oh yes. (Makes me get goose bumps to write this).

But, and a huge, sad, but. But some people are so outraged that they want me in prison because of this. Well, in Uganda. Life imprisonment is not good enough. For some people, including good, moral people.

Is death good enough?

And why?

Why would you want to kill me for loving someone? Another adult human being with whom we share this wonderful, beautiful, life time connection that we call love?


‘Course I am gay. Am not prepared to understand why a person would want to kill me. Using the law, and bearing that, going for extra judicial measures. Of course, that shows a level of hate which love will fail to understand.

Diametrically opposed. Am talking about love not being able to understand hate. And hate not understanding love.

Say a prayer for gay men and women in Iraq, and Iran, and Sudan. And all over Africa. For love we can, we are killed. But love is so fantastic, and we are so human that we cannot but love. And pray for those who fall prey to the wrath of the world’s hate and un-understanding.



It has been raining. The proverbial cats and dogs.

Evening, Kampala, soon after the first major rain of the season. It feels like it has been years since it really rained. Not true, but we have just been through one of the worst dry seasons. Cant believe how dry the grass on our lawn had got. We stopped cutting it, and waited, prayed for the rain. I started thinking that ‘global warming’ is real.

It maybe. Or not. With our extreme poverty, we are plundering the environment around us with no heed to anything except the need to survive. Forests are down, trees are not planted. Even the lake is under threat. Poverty is a curse. We are hungry, and eating the seed.

But today, this afternoon was the first major rain of the season, over Kampala.

I was complaining of the perpetual red dust before? Now, I believe it will soon be time to complain of the red mud. Mud everywhere, mud and water and rain.

Back to the first rain. I was home. Has been threatening to rain over the last week or so. You know, bright, brittle, hot afternoon sunshine. With something intangible promising rain. But it was not raining. I got out of the house around midday and it was the same kind. But there was a hint of cloud to the west. Well, it was there yesterday, but it hardly rained. At least over Kampala.

Today, by four, the hint had turned to huge clouds, pushing, flowing in from the west. Wind, precursor to a storm. Then the pretty blue was soon hidden, the shiny shin lost as the clouds became pregnant with rain.

Wind, gales of it swept the dust up and away, over the dirty streets. I headed home, and, great good luck, soon after the first drizzle started, my lover comes back. Just in time. I believe the best place to be in a storm of rain is deep in bed, wrapped around my lover.

I persuaded him into bed. Had to pull him there. Dratted man, he was into some house keeping, as if the storm could wait.

And it was a storm. In a short hour and a half, more rain fell than has come down in three, four months. Sheets of it, washing the air, scrubbing the roof. It is baati, naked baati, the roof. No under-roof to hide the thunder of rain. The drumming drowns out all conversation, and it was loud, insistent. Halfway through came hailstones. They were heavy, solid, and many. Pity anyone who was outside in that rain.

I dosed off. He didn’t! But we remained in bed.

Now, we are out. Busybody, he is continuing to look after our confort. Preparing supper. Lazy me, I am in the computer. Fact is, the rain has caused a power failure. Usual occurrence. So, I have to work my lazy arse off the laptop battery, if that is what I want to do…

Just had to celebrate the first rain of the season. Beautiful weather. Dull, overcast, dust scrubbed from it, but it smells clean and sharp… and beautiful. To the east of the country, people were dying of hunger. Though the rains will now bring too much water, and the harvest is not that quick, still, there is hope that this great lakes region is still a lake region.