Am I reckless? Surely not!
Gay, a Ugandan, in Uganda. Surely I have learnt the lessons of caution? Surely...
But, appearances can be deceptive. Maybe I am reckless, in a way. Because I am gay, and Ugandan.
But, first, of the day.
Saturday. No work for me. Woke in bed, to my lover's warmth of body. There is nothing like that, feeling, touching, being with the one you love in the same bed. Instinctively closing to him, moulding body with his. Time stands still, feeling his response to my response. Knowing that he is mine, and I am his.
Got out of bed later. Restless.
Too used to getting out of bed early to stay in for long. And, I love that early morning chorus of birds in trees. I am lucky. Where I live, the trees still are, and birds still sing.
Outside, a heavy cloud hugged the hollows and vales between the hills. Fog on the crowns. And, the sun is a disk through, failing to burn through the haze. A strange morning in Kampala. Different.
I walked the road, and thought.
Life all around is a poem. Author is a master poet, and, it is relentlessly, continously being rewritten.
And as I walk through, almost a stranger, observer on the side, I thought how reckless I am to seek to ruffle this almost smoothly flowing stream.
I mean that interview.
Granted, I have been gay most of life. Known it. Hidden, as only a person can in the midst of life.
So, why do I think it gamine to lift that veil? Anonymity is my most consistent defence. If they don't know about me, they will not attack me. They will not out me, they will not call for my hanging. They will not lynch me. They will not know where to get me to persecute me for imaginary ills like 'recruiting their children'. They will not accuse me of things that cannot be done. Because I am different from them.
Why do I risk prosecution, prison, even judicial death? Why do I so consistently risk overt persecution from them?
Who are they?
My neighbours. My country-mates. The people, the anonymous, common but unknown others who move on the streets of Kampala, of Uganda. My people, my relatives.
I look like them. And, I have worked on perfecting that image. So, why have I risked outing myself?
Why not burrow deeper, get married to a woman, have blessed children, continue having my lover on the side?
Why do I expose myself recklessly? Why don't I take the easier road? Why...
Sorry. The questions have been in my head.
Had to be, since I realised the risk that I ran, lifting the veil of my anonymity to that extent.
No, Anengiyefa. I didn't know that it would have been like so. The promise was the veil would hold. And, I didn't hold the cameras. Truth be told, I don't know how that is done. The experts, they did. And, the promise was I wouldn't be recognised.
Of course, in any battle, hard to gauge the risks taken. Are they worth it? Only if, and when the battle is won. When the war is at an end.
Hard to say, when the war is on going. And, in Uganda, it is ongoing.
But, why recklessly take the risk? Maybe I should ask Val Kalende. She gave the interview that was published in one of the real mass circulation sheets in Uganda. Why did she do it? Why do we so consistently chip away at the veil that hides and protects us? Why do we take risks which we know are reckless, risks that we know may, if we fail, make us lose more than what we think we should?
Its a tough question.
No. It is not courage. I am sorry to say that, little that I do I can think of courageous. Thinking like that is the kind of recklessness which would make me jump off a cliff thinking I will fly. I have to remember the hard landing at the end. And, frankly, that gives me nightmares.
But, think of it this way.
Familiarity breeds contempt. And, I have grown very familiar with the danger, the risks I take on a daily basis. Because I have learnt to sidestep the holes, I kind of start believing in my invulnerability. So, I take greater, and greater risks. And, I try to rationalise them away....
That is why writing something like this is necessary. I need to touch base. To remember that, I have travelled far. I have done a lot. I have reached for the stars, and, maybe. Just maybe, I can touch them.
But, I am still flesh. I bleed when cut. And life is a fragile gift that I am putting on line. For my bloody ideals, which will and do demand their pound of flesh. Nearest the heart, to be overly dramatic.
Yeah. I am.
Risks I take, for ideals that I countenance. I don't believe in martyrdom. Simple foolishness that. Yet, risks I take, and will continue to take because that is what life thrusts at me. Simply to stay happy, to have the joy of waking up in my lover's hands is a risk. Even kissing my lover in our house is a risk, not to be attempted without a look out the windows, to know we are unwatched.
So, if such a common, day to day pleasure is also a risk, what other risks will I allow myself to take in caution?
Put that way, sounds like I am giving myself the licence to risk more.
Sigh..... That was not the aim of this. I must remember to be cautious. Even when the battle rage takes hold. I know, I am no berserker. Never been, never will be.