Monday, October 10, 2016

Five year hiatus!

Indeed it has been quite a while. Much has happened in between, making me break off, and also enabling me to come back to blog.

One of the most important reasons I found myself blogging was sheer angst and anger those days five years ago. The anti-homosexuality bill was in parliament. Various people, leaders in the country, were going around lauding the prescience of Ugandans in having this first of all legislations, advocating for the death, for life imprisonment for other Ugandans, gay Ugandans such as me, for the simple crime of loving differently.

I was angry, I was afraid, I was in despair.

It was that anger that I translated into midnight rants, chasing down the latest story, trying to refute the latest lie from Pastor Martin Ssempa ‘eat da poo poo’. And off course on the ground the climate of fear was a reality that we had to live in day to day reality. My closet walls eroded…, and I found myself increasingly recognized as gay by people generally around me.

All this took a toll on myself.

The wounds were deep.

I got the chance to relocate to another country on the continent, which, though not a nivarna, seemed like Gay Heaven in Africa. It still is. And the struggle morphed into something different, something that I had not expected.

I must comment that I was unhinged for a while. A kind of dislocation. Finding it hard to adjust to the new reality. Like I had been pushing hard and long for such a while that I failed to understand when there seemingly was no wall to bash my head against.

It has been a very long journey, and I found myself at one time thinking I would not have the fire again, the commitment and passion to get out there and affirm that we are gay, and African. And that there is lots to do.

But first has been the healing that I never knew I needed, from wounds of warping that I never thought I had. That self-immolating fire, all consuming, had literally burnt me out. The length of the hiatus is statement to the depth of distortion I had suffered, that had to start to be repaired, reborn.

Secondly, more exposed to the wider world, and the various ways that the struggle to gay self-actualization has taken place, I have had to grow a stronger base. To understand gay pride, queer pride, beyond the restricting environment of suffocating Uganda. To remember that the struggle is neither new, nor over.

That has led me into a broader, and I believe more self-sustaining understanding of advocacy for minorities. We will always be minorities on the continent. Gay Africans. There is no way that this struggle for emancipation is going to be over soon. That point of view is ignorant of the history of stigmatized minorities.

With better access to knowledge and information, I have also been deeply appreciative of the other minority struggles that have been and are still continuing in other places. The knowledge and understanding that struggle is never over, that even when we are living in our bubbles of serenity, there are always majorities which though politely politically correct, in their hearts and minds would roll back the advances we think so crucial to our happiness.

The struggle continues. The poignancy of the continuance of minority rights activism as shown by the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the US is instructive. Indeed, emancipation of slavery was a couple of centuries ago. Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the Civil rights movement are acknowledged parts of the American story. Indeed, for the last 8 years, a black man has been president of America.

Yet, as Colin Kaepernich states, “Black men are killed and killers get paid leave off”. The supposedly post racial America is a politically correct farce with the schisms of yester years boiling underneath that artificial skin.

True, the US is not Africa and human rights campaigns don’t translate readily to obvious comparison. Ours is the continent still arresting, stigmatizing, killing and disrespecting her queer children. Incidents like this arrest of GayCameroonians, simply because they were in a bar that is thought to be gay are our day to day lived reality on most of the continent.


The struggle continues, and, in the little way that I am able to, older, wiser, still as flawed and crippled and never perfect…, I will try to do my best to work towards our emancipation as gay, queer in Africa, our mother continent.


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