Friday, January 18, 2008

Living with Danger

Yesterday, I read about the conviction of some guys in Cameroon because they were gay.

To tell the truth, I was not much affected. Like knowing another death has occurred from malaria. Its no longer news to me.

Yet something made me reassess my thoughts.

A friend, recently came out to himself. Joined the kuchu community consciously.

There is little joy like the sense of freedom one gets on coming out. When the closet door is open. Freedom to be oneself. Freedom not to fear what one is. Freedom to be oneself, after years of unconscious hiding and fear.

This guy was truly happy. He made me remember what it was like to come out.

When I sent him the article about the guys in Cameroon, it was a reality check to him. Yes, he was free. Felt free. But that freedom is a mirage.

It also caused me to think, again, about this life that I live. I am gay. A human being who is gay. I am reconciled to what I am, indeed, I am happy because I have accepted myself.

Yet there are people who would harm me because of what I am.

There is the 21 year old guy who was hanged in Iran because of possible sex when he was 13 years of age. There are the guys in Morocco who have been convicted of being homosexuals. There are the guys in Bauchi, Nigeria, who were arrested for ‘attending a homosexual wedding’ and the case is before the Sharia Courts. And of course there is Cameroon. All these happened in the last 6 months or so.

Yet I am so used to live with this threat to my life and liberty that it does not seem to impress me. I get this feeling that it happens to someone else. Not me. Not mine. Not in Uganda.

Thinking about this, I woke up in a cold sweat this night. Why?

Suppose Janet Museveni, or Martin Ssempa, or Nsaba Buturo, or someone like them became president of the Republic of Uganda. It is a possibility. They are all politically active, interested, members of the ruling party. It is not far fetched to think of someone like them becoming president. And to them, cleansing Uganda of people like me, homosexuals, gays, is worth the bad press the country would get.

Yes, I can be arrested. So would my lover. This veil of anonymity is thinner by the day.

To many, my admission that I am gay, a homosexual is an admission of guilt. I deserve prison, because I am gay. To them that guilt is proven. The activism is something to add onto that. Not only am I homosexual, I am an unrepentant homosexual activist.


Yeah, a big so.

This journey has been a long one. Each step by apparently logical step has been a product of years of life. I cannot be less than what I am. I am not more than what I am. I, simply, am what I am. The love that I share with my lover, I would not share with someone else. The happiness that I have, the peace being myself.

Yet, I cannot forget that there are people who do think prison, punishment and death are my rewards for being me. A sobering thought this early morning.

Yet it is necessary to remember.

I have walked the edge of danger so long that sometimes I forget that it is a balancing act.


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