Monday, January 25, 2010

A Warning of Sorts

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.

It hurts.



Jean-Paul, Canada said...

I'm an elder too, gug.

I know your pain. It will always hurt.

It was Oscar Wilde who said: 'We are all of us in the gutter, but a few of us are looking at the stars".

He was also familiar with pain.

Hope comes when ordinary people say that gay rights are human rights, rights that are worth the struggle.

Let me embrace you in friendship as we look at the stars together, all of us who are concerned with human rights. I believe the future holds many wonderful surprises for us; I just believe it, that's all.

spiralx said...

I don't know what your father is like as a person, gug. Or how good your relationship is with him. Or with your mother.

You could perhaps talk to her and see what she thinks.

But maybe, maybe, it is worth going back to your father, some time not too far away, and reminding him that he has known you all your life; he brought you up, gave you your first values in life.

Does he, knowing you as he does, really believe that you are a threat in the compound, or someone who would not be good for the children around you?

If he is an elder, who chooses to lead, then leading involves doing the best for everyone, not just some. It isn't just about respecting tradition. You have to try and bring people together as a working group. And that involves both the heart and the head - wisdom, & experience, but also knowledge, and often courage.

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