The red rug was at it again. A list of the ‘
Was I there? Why should I say?
Want to know one guy who doesn’t mind saying he featured in Sunday’s Red pepper? He is here… Afrogay! Me, I would rather have you guessing. Why? Why not!
The main story is nothing more than a recycling of the old story. Yeah, when we were outed about a year ago. But there are a few changes. In the grammar!
I didn’t like it.
Granted, with the popularity of ‘homo exposes’ in the Ugandan press, it is not the first time, nor will it be the last time. And of course there are attendant problems to all this ‘publicity’. Deniability is paramount, but at the same time, our employers and significant others are very concerned when it comes to exposes by dear Christians of us homosexual sinners. (They don’t want to eat with us. So, they expose us so that no one eats with us sinners…)
It is Saturday evening. I debated whether or not to show my face in public. My lover convinced me it was no big deal. Just go, and show my mug. And anyone have a problem, well, to hell with them.
So, I went to my favourite pub. And, found that most other kuchus had also gravitated there. Showing there faces.
Oh, the red rug was pretty explicit. Many of us are recognizable. Enough, and this is a small community. And of course, homosexuals are a favourite topic for gossip. But, many of the guys and gals were at the pub. Many more than I expected.
Gallows humour, that was the staple.
Those who featured in the expose are the ‘Top 40’, the Famous Ones.
It is a mark of accomplishment. So, the greeting was, ‘Congratulations, you made it into the Top 40’!
But nothing could hide the anger, and the sense of community. We were together to take strength from one another. We have been exposed to the merciless gaze of hate of a homophobic society. We were, and are, hurting. There is little that we can do, but we can brave it out, and give strength to one another. We don’t know what the actual fall out will be, individually, on a person to person basis. Or, to the community. There were some photos, this time, too. As if the need was that it was necessary to sheer up the believability of the red rug. Just a few photos. But enough.
I left the bar feeling high. On liquor and knowledge that we kuchus are resilient enough to come through even this…
Oh, we shall come through.
And, for our enemies. Just remember that the fires which you are lighting to burn us will temper us. We shall come through it, face the demons that we fear, and still be what we are. Stronger. Funny that because we are backed into a corner, we are made more capable just because our avowed enemies are so ignorant and illogical in their uptake of what life is!
To all those who were exposed, more power to you.
Absolutely. "Out & proud" exists for a reason!
We all know the Red Rubbish just writes scandal to sell itself.
No publicity is bad publicity and even though things seem dire at the moment, I am totally convinced that this is publicity that the gay community in Uganda needs. We cannot win this battle by being shunted into the shadows. So, even though the coverage is negative, history will show that the long term benefits are incalculable.
What has been lacking in all these discussions is the appeal to conscience - the conscience of the Ugandan public. Pretending that gays didn't exist made it easy for the gay boys and girls to be sidelined through ignorance. The Red Pepper’s persecution (for how can it be anything else?) gives the battle a human face. The public thus realizes that the people being hounded are their sons, daughters, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends etc. And, inevitably, their conscience will be pricked because the Red Pepper is making sure that the struggle is not against a faceless foreign invasion; rather it is against human beings who struggle like everyone else to make something of their lives. I know firsthand of someone on this list whose family turned from hostility towards him to resigned acceptance and then fierce defense of him because … yes, their conscience was pricked by the terrible publicity. Basically, they realized that no one deserves to be treated like that, and that their boy certainly didn’t deserve to be humiliated like that. Their hatred of the Red Pepper's tactics is now palpable.
But this is not my forum so I must check myself. I shall discuss this aspect (conscience) at some length in my own space.
Please take heart. In the short term, the re-publication of this list seems like a disaster but, in the long term, we have plenty to gain from this kind of harassment.
I feel sad and helpless for the unnecessary distress this must be causing people on a personal basis.
Stay strong in who you are and never lose your determination to fight for you dignity. Those of us overseas feel for what you're going through in Uganda, is there anything we could do that would help?
You have love, support and admiration from lots of "kuchus" in Chicago!
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