Sunday. Late morning. Midday.
Green all around, blue skies. A cool breeze. Beauty, beauty left, right and centre.
And, deep in me I feel frozen. Alone. Lonely.
An elder of the village saw fit to come and tell me, give me some updates. Complaints from my neighbours. A disguised warning, a veiled ‘cease and desist’ order.
Apparently, my neighbours are not confortable with their kids coming and being with me. We do have a large compound. And, the kids love it. Come and politely ask for permission to play. I usually say yes. My partner says no.
But, my neighbours don’t like it. They have informed the kids so. But, like children everywhere, they keep coming. And asking. And, I don’t have any reason to say no. Most of the time.
Except that my neighbours see ill intentions in my permission.
Because I am a gay man. And, my partner is gay, and we are a couple.
Gay. Therefore, paedophiles. We assault children. We infect them with the gay virus.
Of necessity, I am not very neighbourly. But, I have been here nine years. And more. But, I am conscious of my status as a gay man, our status as a gay couple living demi-closeted in Uganda.
Curiously, it hurts.
What hurts more is the fact that the elder who was informed to pass on the message is my dad.
And, implicit in the message was a cooling, a to-be-read-between-the lines cooling of my relationship with him.
I don’t blame him. Sadly, I have to understand that he lives in an environment which presumes the worst of gay humans. And, we are unashamedly so. Gay.
But, I am also angry. Angry, and Sad. Very sad.
I want to lash out. I want to hit out.
The anger is an adaptive response. It has carried me on and on, through very much. It is a prop that I have learnt to use before. Have to learn to use everytime.
But, it is also a danger, a false comfort.
I thought of my family. What would happen if they were to reject me?
Immediate to that thought was the fact that, I rejected religion when I realised it rejected me. What about family?
They are closer, they are nearer. They are blood. It hurts. And it hurts bad.
All this thought is like a heavy blanketing cloud over the pretty, bright sunshine.
I am proud. I am gay. I am Ugandan.