Hi, and Greetings….
I have been a little busy. Someone once asked me to bet whether or not the bill would become law. I informed him that I am working my damndest to make sure that that does not happen.
It is true.
But, that kind of thing draws me away from the blog. And, makes me try to draw in other allies, and see whether I can contribute to their efforts. Add mine to theirs. Multiply our efforts. That kind of thing.
Activist? Reluctantly, I will say I am. Damn, this bill has made me an activist, though I was once upon a time very reluctant to label myself so, even when I was doing all the 'relevant' things. Call it some 'un'-planned side-effects of the Bill.
I certainly hope it dies. But, even if it dies tomorrow, I am still faced with living my life as an 'out' gay man in Uganda. Can be tough.
Yesterday, taking an evening walk, came across a couple of guys who were walking just infront of us. Me and my man.
Voices were instinctively lowered as we passed by. And I, (of course), tried my damndest to hear what they were saying. Cant say I was blessed. They were talking of an acquitance of theirs who one thought was gay. And, he was informing the other 'in confidence', and the other's comments were crude and decidedly un-informed.
Cant say I was edified. Wished I heard not overheard. But, that is Uganda. That is my country. So, today I was talking to people and dared to say, 'I am a gay man,' and inside I was wincing. I think that was the very first time that I had said that voluntarily. Hey, the crowd was sympathetic…. Or, I would never have dared to have that happen…!
Now, you dare think that us gay supermen would be wholly involved in fighting the Bill?
I know we are normal human beings. Despite the huge capacities that our detractors say we have to be evil and bring about the destruction of cities and nations.
But, we are depressingly normal.
Despite the bill, we play politics. We backbite each other, and we sometimes work for the very selfish reasons which shouldn't be in our best interest.
I admire professional gay activists. To lead gay people, even when the need is very clear cut and the danger a blade in the air, still we are human. Selfish.
Ha ha ha… Not super humans bent on the spread of the gay agenda!
The court case in Malawi is still on-going. So, of course the effects of it are very visible. In some areas, like HIV prevention;-
The court case - which is rare in a country where most people charged with same-sex acts plead guilty due to lack of legal representation - has sparked intense public scrutiny and police crackdowns, increasing the risk of arrest and harassment for MSM, and decreasing their access to vital HIV prevention services.
"This case has put us in an awkward position in terms of our programming," said Gift Trapence, director of the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) a human rights organization.
"Police are more empowered to arrest people, so it is very hard for the MSM community to come to meetings. It's also become very hard even for the organization to distribute HIV/AIDS information [to them] because that will be regarded as promoting something illegal ... that's what the media and the church and the government officials are saying."
CEDEP is one of the few organizations working to prevent HIV among MSM in a country where many believe same-sex practices to be "un-Malawian" and "un-African". In 2008 research by the organization found that HIV prevalence among MSM was about 21 percent, almost double the national average of about 12 percent cited by UNAIDS.
The police are empowered indeed.
Sometimes it is good to lean back and relax in one's comfort zone and reflect how lucky one is. I am gay, and I am Ugandan.
But, I am free, and, though the bill is in the country's Parliament, it is not yet law.
Of course there are rumours of violence to me and family, but, I am still free. The Malawi guys are not free.
I have never understood some of the logic that people who hate gay people espouse about curing us.
Ever heard of the monstrosity of cure they call 'Curative Rape'?
Of course it is not a cure. It is degrading, it is a violation, it is something that is extremely bad. But, some people, even members of the families of gay people, arrange for 'curative rape' for gay family members.
If there is anything as cruel and degrading as this- maybe it is Ssempa pushing the anti-gay bill in Uganda, and Bahati saying it is in 'Defence of the family'
An annual report by the US State Department on human rights in Zimbabwe has said that gays and lesbians in the country face harassment and rape by people trying to 'cure' them.
It said that lesbians were sometimes raped, even by their family members, to try and turn them straight, while gay men were forced into heterosexual sex.
Associated Press reports that Amanda Porter, political officer at the US Embassy in Harare, said yesterday: "Some families reportedly subjected men and women to corrective rape and forced marriages to encourage heterosexual conduct."
I am one very lucky dude.