Monday, November 28, 2016


I started this blog for the simplest of reasons.

Gay, in Uganda, with little ability to vent. You know, cry, scream, shout and tear out the few hairs that I have because of an 'unfair' world....
Yes, I know. You will tell me that the world is unfair. Always will be. Always has been. And, it will continue being so.....

But, we always want to vent. And, we vent, about lots and lots of things. And, in a country where I couldnt say that I was gay, I found it particularly satisfying to sit in my place in Kampala and start writing things that would have possibly gotten me down.

I never promote it..., lol. Why should I?

I didnt want too many people to know about it. And, too many people knowing it could lead to things that are unexpected. And, still it did...., lol. 

But that screaming and shouting? It led me to a particular place that I didnt want to be. See, all the anger that I couldnt throw out at my world, and I was living it, I came to live it on the blog. And that became an unhealthy thing. When I came to stop blogging, it was something that haunted me.

Of course I was in a better space. Which became worse in a way....., but, that is another story.
I find that I do need to do this. To talk about what it means to be gay, and African, and to be able shout it out to the rest of the world.

Things are happening back home. See this photo?

It was taken by a journalist, Ugandan, from neighbouring Kenyan media station. She had gone home for the traditional marriage ceremony. (Tshhh, for some reason, because of the coming of the white wedding ceremony, the traditional one is now relegated to 'Introduction Ceremony'....)
And the lady looked beautiful during the introduction. Check here.
Photo by Rosebell Kagumire via the Star of Kenya

She's third from the left, and making me feel so homesick for such ceremonies.....

Sigh, sigh, sigh...

If you'd like to see her alone in a pic at work..., here is one, borrowed from the Daily Monitor

Anyway, lady goes to introduce her intended to her family. A grand ceremony, as should be, of course. And, it was beautiful, till it was interrupted.

By war breaking out. Apparently, the Ugandan army attacked the palace of the King of Rwenzururu and killed 46 royal guards. Gruesome pictures of what happened have been spreading via the airwaves...
And, that particular picture that allegedly Joy Doreen Biira snapped as she transformed instantaneously from shy bride to fearless journalist, the huntress that she is, got her into trouble.

She instagrammed it......, you know

Or was it the facebook post that she fired off in anger as she saw her cultural heritage up in flames?

And, she was arrested. She was also giving eye witness accounts of the fighting, slaughter, from what I am picking up...., but you know, news from an instant frontline can become jumbled up...., and, her mom was quick to report her missing, arrested, in case something happened that was inadvertent. Crazy things happen in cases of war, you know!!!
46 royal guards were killed. Presumably defending their king. But, the goverment is ready to name them terrorists, so, I hold my breath before I commit them to the ancestors heavens in glory.....

And Joy Doreen, after being disappeared, the media does what it does in such cases. They all know that strange things happen in war, and, Joy was at the very fore front of it. So, they trumpet it far and wide, engage the social media, and even form a hashtag of course....!

And, voila, Joy Doreen is re-appeared.

But, that is not amazing. What the most amazing thing is, is that she was all the time in police custody or arrest, and, since the outcry was becoming unbearable, they police had to do something... And they gracefully accepted that they had arrested Joy Doreen, and not only that, she was still out on so called 'police bond'.

Anyway, she was quite safe. And there was no need for alarm....

She had been filming things which were considered sensitive. Apparently, this was a restricted area..., and Joy had gone overboard to film the instantaneous war/massacre that had happened. Of course she should have reined in her journalistic instincts...

But, the most laughable thing done by the government was the charge that Joy Dorreen emerged from police custody with. 

Abetting Terrorism.

That is the charge. 

Wonder of wonders that that tough woman is free. She was abetting terrorism!!!! Imagine that! An instragramed photo/video whatever that of course goes virallllllllllll

Lets not mention the so many lives lost. Just a statistic?

Life becomes such a mess.

That is why I take the chance to shout and sing and dance, and also to open my big wide mouth and start shouting about things that my countrymates take for granted should be kept hidden and not talked about...., like #FreeJoyDoreen... and of course #JournalismISnotaCrime !

The laws of the country are perveted when they are used by the state to terrorise citizens. Thankfully, Joy Doreen is free...!

But, she still apparently has to answer to that ridiculous charge....

Now, now, now,

that I have vented as I felt like, I am feeling so good. 
Sincerely, it makes one feel good. To take these things off one's shoulders and rest them on blog page....

That is what it used to do for me. Does for me now, though current trigger is very different.

Anger management therapy...., lol!

But, am so glad that Joy Doreen is free. Though we should still say #FreeJoyDoreen and #JournalismIsNotaCrime. Because that travesty of justice will continue until the charge is dropped. It is a very serious one. Very.

The state is always all powerful. That is why some people dreamt of the so called 'Bill of Rights'.

all the best


Tanzania, HIV and Gay Men Part 2

Continuing this...,

It might be the new Government?

I mean...., remember the serious guy Magufuli? He was elected President of the United Republic...., and after the election, he brought a very fresh vision to what was happening in the country.....

There was a time that the hashtag #whatwouldMagufulido was seriously trendy.....

Apparently, amongst the 'wasteful' things that the government found, was HIV programming for gay men, Tanzanians. And, apparently the first mention of a problem is in a very #Magufuli style.

I am not sure whether the announcement is jumbled...., or what, but it seems nonsensical. The Minister of Health of the republic actually says that gay men in Tanzania have more HIV than other men..., but then says that she has ordered that they no longer be given condoms and lube....! Yes. That is what she says. It is as if she is a Minister of Religion (or Ethics and Integrity, in Uganda) instead of a Minister of Health. Check here.
The Tanzanian government has banned imports and sales of sexual lubricants in its latest move targeting the gay community, officials say.
Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu justified the move on the grounds that the product encourages homosexuality, which is banned in the east African nation.
"It is true that the government has banned the importation and use of the jelly to curb the spread of HIV," the minister told local media on Tuesday.
"It is estimated that 23 percent of men who have sex with men in Tanzania are living with HIV/AIDS," he added.
"I have instructed stakeholders working with gay people to remove the products from the market."
That is a very serious announcement.

Early on in the HIV epidemic in Africa, there were serious debates. Should condoms be promoted because they actually prevent the spread of HIV? Many moral religious people were offended. Condoms would promote promiscuity. Condoms were bad. Condoms were something visible of something that was not supposed to be. 

But, condoms DO PREVENT HIV. They work. And, over the years, we have agreed. Condoms are a very important way to stop the spread of HIV. Young people should learn about them, and should be able to protect themselves. Of course, those who dont want to have sex, this doesnt concern them. But, this knowledge is important.

So, we actually give out condoms free to sex workers. And, we dont tell them to stop having sex. Of course they wouldnt listen to us. That is how they earn money. We are supposed to be realistic, in the real world.

So, we dont tell people NOT TO HAVE SEX. Because people have sex. Whether or not other people want. We just want them, as health workers, to be safe when they have sex.

But, the honourable minister of health believed that this was not okay. GAY TANZANIAN MEN SHOULD NOT HAVE SEX.
So, no condoms and lubricants for gay men in Tanzania..... because this makes them have sex!!!!

I dislike the hypocritical attachment that the minister did when she announced this. It was so out there stupid, that, Lady Minister of Health, I call you out on this. This

The ministry has agreed to work with stakeholders to give the ministry the money they were using to buy and import the lubricants so we could use it to buy beds for the maternity wards." 
This is like the hypocrite who will let a sex worker get HIV and get sick, and cry crocodile tears over the sex worker's child. Why dont you empower the sex worker so that the child is actually born without HIV and is safe? 

And, it is a matter of fact that the lubricant (which in case you didnt know, is necessary for safe anal sex) is given for free. And, if those who gave it wanted to donate maternity beds, of course they would do so.  (Photo courtesy of and

This was very funny of you, Lady Minister Ummy Mwalimu. This, did not serve the country Tanzania, nor the people...., and it is like you havent yet heard of the lessons of the HIV epidemic. 

We cant stop people from having sex. We can help make sure they have safer sex..., whether they are 'criminalised' or not. That, that you forgot, Lady Minister.

Tongue in cheek, Agence Presse reported....
Tanzania is cracking down on import and sales of sexual lubricants on the theory that, without them, homosexuality will decrease, Agence France-Press reports.
Sometimes we do things which are ridiculable. And, I ridicule the idea..., too. Guess it is better for a friend to tell you that you have egg on your face than a stranger on the street, no?

But that was only the first bullet that the minister fired. And that was in July of 2016.

But, worse was to come. 

In August 2016, It was the Minister of Justice to come out suddenly with a statement. Minister Harrison Mwakyembe announced
"new plans to suspend the registration of any charity or non-governmental organisation that supports homosexuality.
The aim was protecting the “culture of Tanzanians”, 
And of course, it wasnt getting limited to that. 
This year, police raided two U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS organizations and seized confidential patient information and supplies, officials said.
The Regional Commissioner of Dar-es-Salaam threatened to arrest gay people, and declared that their contacts on Facebook and Instagram were suspect..... Though that might have been in July..., but, you get the sense of pending gloom and doom...
In September, the deputy minister of health, Hamisi Kigwangalla, accused HIV treatment organizations of “promoting homosexuality.”

Time, is time, gay Tanzanians, to rethink your closets. It is no longer safe out there...... (Photo Reuters/Edward Ecwalu)

In September, the government threatened to ban NGOs that 'promote' gay rights. 

On 1st Nov, the Minister was announcing the suspension of HIV programmes for gay men. And, her reasons were interesting.
  • government had received reports that some local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were promoting and normalizing same-sex relationships as part of their HIV programs
Now..., that is interesting. Can you imagine a program which goes out preaching no sex and condemnation of a particular group..., with the aim to be making them have safer sex? LOLEST. Asking for the impossible, the government?
  • health minister, Ummy Mwalimu, .... had suspended HIV/AIDS outreach programs for gay patients to review whether they promoted same-sex relationships.
As an HIV programmer, you are reminded again and again, you are NOT making people have sex. People have sex. They do. Errrr, even in covents and monasteries. They do have sex. This is the real world. We dont make them have sex. We try to make sure that they have SAFER SEX....., please!!!!!!!  Lady Minister!!! It is as if the whole 30 years of the epidemic have been nothing and taught the government of Tanzania nothing?

As a sop to those who would think the government totally heartless, this was conceded.
government would continue to provide HIV/AIDS services to adolescent girls, drug users and other groups.

We shall rest assured that the 25% HIV rate amongst this key population of Gay Tanzanian Men is not going to be a problem....... After all, all the other groups of Key Populations will remain targeted...., but maybe we are just starting with gay men? Because, after all, illegal drug use and sex work are ILLEGAL in Tanzania, not so?  Its like saying..., dont worry, this time we are only mad at the homosexuals....., this time...!!!!!

And they are already hurting
A 29-year-old gay man in Dar es Salaam who is HIV-positive said that he was diagnosed four years ago. Since then, antiretroviral drugs have helped him stay relatively healthy and health workers have provided him with condoms, lubricants and information about safe sex so he does not infect his partners.
But now he had gone two weeks without medication. To get it, he would have to go to a public hospital, and he said he fears retribution.
“In this environment, it’s not safe to be a known gay man in the open,” he said.

You have to go brother. Because the virus in your body is going to come up again. You are risking death. Yes, you are. You have to brave the fear, the shame, the possible outing. Please go, else....

Funny thing is, the programs are being funded from the US. Or, is that the problem? Tanzania is saying that, we are poor. We know it. We shall accept help to help our people not die of HIV...., BUT..., with a big exception. We shall not LET you, or anyone else, help Gay Tanzanians.

Of course it is hypocritical. It brings tears to my eyes. Because I am a gay Ugandan. A gay African. Because Uganda was actually doing the same thing just a few years ago. Aid for HIV, but only for the 'good' populations, not sex workers, not gay Ugandans. Tears to my eyes indeed. And that the honourable ministers didnt learn from Tanzania's nothern border is both hurting and ridiculous. Cry, Beloved Tanzania!

The reaction from service providers was gloomy indeed. Of course. Quoted one
John Kashika, of Community Health Education Services & Advocacy NGO, said suspending HIV/AIDS programmes for some LGBT groups was a blow in the fight against the virus.“This is essentially denial of services to people who are at the highest risk of contracting HIV, there’s going to be a lot of implications,” he said.

Indeed, as one Gay Tanzanian noted in dismay
“It’s clear that the government doesn’t care whether we live or die,” said one 22-year-old gay man who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of punishment.
Am afraid you are very right, fellow gay man. It is tough. It is disheartening. It is really, really painful, to me as a gay man, a gay African, and a person who believes that you are a whole human being, and you should not be denied treatment or prevention methods.

Our prayers to you, our queer Tanzanian brothers and sisters. Seems like tough times ahead....., But dont lose hope. You are human. You are real.

We shall overcome.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tanzania, HIV and Gay men, what is happening?

What is happening in Tanzania?

That question has been late coming to me. Not been paying lots of attention. But, there are some very serious developments.

First thing that I heard was that some HIV prevention programs were being suspended. From a Reuters flash...., on 01 Nov 2016
“Tanzania has suspended community-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs for gay men, the health minister said on Monday, in the latest crackdown on the high-risk group. Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania’s minister for health said the government had received reports that some local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were promoting and normalizing same-sex relationships as part of their HIV programs. Gay sex is illegal in Tanzania and punishable by up to 30 years in prison…”
Of course gay sex is illegal in Tanzania. So is sex work. So is the use of injectiable drugs (Injection drug use), and of course, gay sex is not allowed in prison, where we drop human beings and tell them, see, you are now prisoners. For the next 20 years of your life, you are not supposed to have sex. No dreaming about it, no contact, no nothing. Because you are now prisoners...., see?

Seriously, we have had this debate since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. And, it is very important in a country like Tanzania. This is what the Wikipedia page on TZ and HIV says.
Tanzania faces a mature, generalized HIV epidemic. In 2011, an estimated 1.6 million Tanzanians were living with HIV/AIDS, with 1.3 million being age 15 or older. Based on 2011 data, AIDS has resulted in an estimated 1.3 million orphaned children.

Overall, the survey found that 5.1 percent of those tested were HIV positive. 
6.2 percent of women were HIV positive, against 3.8 percent of men. 
Such surveys are great. They give us an overall picture of the epidemic. Who is affected? How are they affected? How good or how bad are they able to access services?

But, there is a huge problem with them. Certain people will not tell you who they are....., simply because, as the reuters article points out, 
Gay sex is illegal in Tanzania and punishable by up to 30 years in prison…”
 So, although we know that HIV spreads by sex mainly, we are actually not going to ask people whether they have anal sex, or sex with men. We just assume that everyone has sex heterosexually (i.e, forgiving my bluntness for the sake of clarity, by putting a penis into a vagina)...., which of course is impossible. Gay people do exist on this earth. And, whether we do like it or not, they fall in love, or lust, and have sex with each other.

And, who will ask, in a country where prostitution is stigmatized and punished, whether one is a prostitute? And which sex worker is going to answer in the positive? Seriously?
Or the injection drug users? For goodness sake, they will not answer! Especially when you can potentially arrest them.

It was realised very early on in the epidemic of HIV, that there were certain populations which were hugely stigmatized, and very likely to have HIV and of course have HEAVY burdens of the virus. And, these populations were not going to be 'touched' by moral, lovely, cleaner than a white sheet HIV prevention and treatment programs. 

Anyway, despite this constraint, scientists and doctors, negotiate with the government so that they do studies like these. So, it has already been found that;
  • 34% of people who inject drugs in Dar-es-Salaam are HIV positive (against the 5.8% national average) 
  • 31.4% of Female sex workers (DSM) against the 6.8% avg of women in the country. 
  •  12.4% of men who have sex with men in DSM compared to 3.8% of men, nationally.
 The World Health Organisation calls these groups Key Populations in HIV. They are there. They will have the greatest burden of disease. And of course, it is hard to do something in HIV prevention amongst them, just like in other populations. That is normal....., or, it is usual, in Africa, and all over the world.

Problem is...., science is like HIV. The virus does not discriminate. In a population of all Tanzanians, the weakest link is the Key Populations. So, you cant control HIV in all the other populations while forgetting the key populations. So, you have to bite the bullet. 
The politicians have to be educated. The medical doctors have to be told the facts of life, and to put aside the 'morals'. The churches, and the mosques, they have to be educated also. Because HIV doesnt discriminate, and it is better to make sure that the sex worker is having safe sex, is protected from HIV or is under treatment, than start treating the 'innocent' child that is born by the sex worker.

But, for a very long time, a very long time, that is the way that we have acted. 

We so stigmatise certain individuals..... gay men, sex workers, prisoners, those who use drugs....., we actually just shrug our shoulders and say, they are to blame.....

And we forget our huge sex networks, and we forget that we might have sex with someone who was also in prison, or has sex with men who have sex with men..., or is a sex worker...

Just imagine, logically. Who do female sex workers have sex with?

Of course, they have sex with the upright standing gentlemen who drive by on the road and pick them up...., and then later go back to their church going wife.....!!!

Life is life. And what happens happens. HIV does not discriminate.

And, though we so griveously forget people in prison....., at least we try to give some of those like gay men, sex workers, drug users services..., and try to make sure that they have safe sex, safe drugs use, or even get treatment.


Because, protecting gay Tanzanians protects all Tanzanians in the long while.
It is a fact of life.

Protecting the vulnerable protects the whole population. 

And if we fail to protect the vulnerable....., the whole population is at risk.
So, Tanzania government, with its donors, has actually been giving HIV prevention and treatment to these populations. Because, as a government...., you take the broader view....

So, what has happened now?

We shall continue this....

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rather no education, than Education mentioning Gayism.....

Dearest, dearest Uganda!

I love my country. Dont know why I should, but...., hell.. (pardon me), it is my country...., and I love messing up the people who would throw me out of the country for being gay!!!

Anyway, my country mates are the world's leading homophobes. No, I am not proud to say that. But, I dont know of any way that I would state it without shading the truth.

It is a phobia. A fear. Unreasoned, unreasoning, totally senseless. But, it is very Ugandan.

Now, Ugandans love education. For most Ugandan families, the most important budgetary consideration is the school fees for our children. Unfortunately, the schools that snag our students are simply substandard.
Am not jocking. I am a product of the system. I managed to get an education...., but, that was exceptional in many ways. These are our schools. 

And, that is a diversion.

Bill Gates, yes, that Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckenberg of Facebook somehow got this interest in education in Africa, and they decided to give the gift of education to African kids.
Bridge International is a private enterprise that runs more than 400 nurseries and primary schools across Africa. The company opened its first school in a slum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in 2009, and said that it aims to educate 10 million children by 2025. It runs 63 for-profit schools and nurseries across Uganda, attended by fee-paying students.
Oh, yes. They are fee paying. Is a matter of fact that something that costs nothing is never appreciated. So, give a great education, subsidize it, but never completely free.

And, the approach is unorthodox.
Schools run by the company use technological innovations—such as e-readers or teacher computers, which come pre-loaded with lesson plans.
Bridge International which has expanded rapidly since its inception in 2008 offering cheap, standardised, technology-driven education in developing countries in Africa and Asia.Under the Bridge International model teachers read scripted lessons word-for-word from a tablet computer that also records student attendance and assessments. 
I must confess that I was shocked, shocked, shocked, to hear that the schools in Uganda had been closed. In the middle of the term..., with more than 12,000 Ugandan kids affected. Officially, the reason for the closure of the schools was damning of the investors. And, I was like, surely Gates and Zuckenberg had been duped? Even the British Department for International Development backs the schools. So, if it was a scam, it must be a huge one. 
But a September report by global trade union Education International found that Bridge International schools in Uganda were failing to uphold the national curriculum, using under-qualified teachers and that the schools’ facilities were inadequate. The report found that Bridge International’s “profit-driven, cost-cutting, standardized and internet-based approach to education delivery involves a number of critical shortcomings.” 
I know...., standard reaction...., either duped..., or, or just some 'imperialistic westerners' doing what they always do. 
I dont know of Zuckenberg's track record. But, that of Bill Gates is stellar. And, I was of the opinion that he might have been duped.
The schools, attended by 12,000 students, are to close immediately in the middle of the school term.
But, the truth of the matter has come out.

The problem might not be the curriculum. Or, rather, it might NOT be sub-standard education.

Gosh, Ugandans crave education. It is an itch and craving that even any education seems to satisfy. Ugandan parents are literally mad to educate their kids, however they can.


A very, VERY, big but.....

The Finance Minister came out with possibly the REAL reason why the schools were closed.

The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija has revealed that Bridge International academies were closed recently because government suspected they were teaching pornography and the content related to lesbianism and homosexuality.

I cannot believe it..., but, I do believe it. 
The powers that be in Uganda will send 12,000 kids home in the middle of the final term in the year, because those kids are having an education that has a hint of content about lesbianism and homosexuality. Oh yes, they will.
The pupils, some of them sobbing, presented their appeal to a team of education ministry officials during the closure of two wings of Bridge International Schools in Rubongi Sub- county and Malaba Town Council in Tororo District.
They even went marching to parliament...., poor kids

You see, when Museveni won his 6th term in office, he made his darling official wife, Janet Museveni, the Minister of Education.
The lady is a fundamentalist Christian. The power behind the throne, and possibly the one who was behind the 'Anti-homosexuality Act'. Hey, that is MY speculation....., but, I doubt, seriously, doubt I am wrong on that.

For the crime of teaching 'lesbianism and homosexuality' those schools were closed
the Tororo District education officer who led the team, apologised to the pupils over the closure of the schools adding that the closed school were “giving them poison” which the government could not tolerate

Poor Uganda the Beautiful. Poor, poor students, and parents, and..... those poor, poor students.
The government supported 'Universal Education' has become such a disaster that....., oh, poor, poor, poor Ugandans!

The idealists, the purists in government believe no education is better than one that teaches 'pornography'
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, .......
“We could not allow teaching sexual matters in public. Why teaching pornography in Bridge schools? This moral decay couldn’t be tolerated,” he said.
Minister Kasaija, also MP for Buyanja South added: “Instead of using schools to apply and promote sexual education, why don’t we go back to our traditional aunties (ssenga) and uncles (kojja)? Stop conveying the gospel of homosexuality to our children. You should stop and stop.”
I bet Bridge International, Zuckenberg, and Bill Gates must be in shock...., wondering what hit them. How could this disaster have occured? Accused of giving sub-standard education....!!!
I bet it could be only a page or two in the books being read, (How many pages would it take!!!!)

But, it was enough.

Poor, poor Ugandans! Poor students! Poor parents! I dont think you even got to understand what occured. Had they told you what was objectionable in the education you were receiving? Of course not.
government inspectors said children were being taught in sub-standard facilities and unsanitary conditions.Another parent who preferred not to be named said he chose Bridge International for his six children because he appreciated the low fees of around $28 per term, or a third of what he used to pay, and disagreed with government’s decision to close the schools ...."The government says that the facilities are not clean but when I visit the school I look at the kitchen and latrines and they are fine," he said.
But, for Ugandan 'leaders' who can justify such a decision.....

May the curses of our ancestors descend on your heads....., and dullen your minds as you seek to make a generation of the poor education-less because of ideals you hold in hypocrisy.

I really, really, really wish I believed in curses. I would choose the worst to visit on the ignoramuses that made that decision.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ain't I Human?

Have been reading the Human Rights Watch report on the effects of the Nigerian 2014 Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act

It is very unconfortable reading. Again, context matters. A huge, populous country. Very religious. Highly corrupt, with a growing, horrifying insurgency. Security by police is tenuous to say the least.

I am pretty sure gay Nigerians were too occupied with the issues of day to day living to even start agitating for gay marriage. Survival comes first, always. And, when you are just hair breadth from that…! But, the politicians thought it was important. And, they were unanimous in their desire for ‘protection’ of ‘Nigerian African Culture’.

Now, the report above is not about the Sharia Law states to the north of the country. That is something else. And, from the writers, not a single prosecution has been carried out. Yet, the effects on the community of Queer Nigerians has been equivalent to the declaration of an official state of terror. Mob violence, suspected on the streets, raised alarm, beaten, stripped, shamed. Deaths. Rape punishment for men, and, for suspected lesbians, ‘corrective’ rape.  Homes broken into to catch them in the act. Suspicion, broken homes, broken families, lost jobs, school…. Vigilante groups, which are common instead of police, are the enforcement arms of the neighborhoods. Indeed, Where can one be Safe?! The police are happy for the extra chance for bribes. And, of course gay Nigerians do all they can to pay. Better to pay than risk 14 years in a Nigerian Jail…, as a confirmed homosexual. Horror of horrors.
You can read of one guy's account here, caught between the police and blackmailers.
What of anti-gay vigilante groups? One account. Notice the official approval!
The group, who often cites the country’s anti-gay law as their authority, has not only gained grounds but seems to be working closely with the youth chairman of the community.
The group also seems to be well mobilized, as they wear T-shirts showing the inscription ‘Anti-Gay Squad’.

The real results of that law is that Queer Nigerians seem to have had all the rights and protection of their humanity removed. Yet, in actual fact, that law doesn’t do that. It’s the people’s perception which matters. Blackmailers...., allegedly working with police? All that happens. 
To the community out there, nothing, nothing is wrong against doing the worst that you can to a person that is gay. Just because you are gay, or suspected to be gay, you can be blackmailed, forced to confess, beaten in public, stripped of your clothes and paraded around the local town as the homosexual. Nothing is too low to visit on a homosexual. And, the Nigerian public is doing it. There is a group that is of such pariah status, so low, so culpable that the church, the mosque, the state has given the populace carte blache to visit all their pain on fellow Nigerians. Because they are gay, or suspected to be....
 My apologies to anyone objecting to my putting the persons face there, and linking to an article with the name. Yeah, it is tough. But, it is the reality of the situation. Sugar coating it doesnt make it any much more palatable. Gay Nigerians are Nigerians stripped of rights because the state deemed it so, and the populace translated latent hate into an ongoing terror campaign. Real, with real human beings hurting. Outed. Beaten. Broadcasted.

The original Bahati Bill in Uganda actually specifically did exactly that, removing our rights as human beings, enacting the death penalty. Yeah, we managed to have those merciful Christians to reduce ‘death’ to 'life in prison' by the time the bill became law….

Aren’t I Human?

Yes, I borrow from  Sojourner Truth, that former slave turned abolitionist and women's rights activist . Ain't I a Woman? Its eerie how this kind of stigmatization has worked down the ages. Fellow human beings need to first REDUCE us below the level of humanity. We are ‘othered’. So different that we are no longer counted like the ‘norms’. That is what can justify treating us less than human. Because, indeed, we are seen as less than human.

The indignities visited on Gay Africans need us to ask other Africans that simple question. Aren’t I a Human Being? Just because I am gay, aren’t I HUMAN? For brother, sister, you seem to think so!

I am human. And, long as I have breath in this body, I will hold you up to ridicule, dear hater/homophobe. With the courage and strength of that slave who dared ask that question, and the unrelenting conviction of our worthiness and humanity, we shall answer the question. 

Yes, we Gay Africans, We are Human. Again and again, we shall affirm it.

We are gay Humans.

We are human. We happen to be gay. We are gay.

We dont want anything different than any other human being. We dont want extras. We dont want an easier path than anyone else.

What we want. Why we fight. Why we yell and scream and will not stop is simple.

We are human. And, we honour ourselves. We shall not buy into the dehumanisation that you visit on us. We shall not buy into the thinking that we are less than you, that we are on the level of animals, because we are different from you.

No. We shall affirm, we gay Africans, we queer Africans, that yes. We. Are. Human.

And, Gay rights are simply Human Rights.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Queer Africans and the Law 2

Late afternoon.

And, am hungry...., lol. Will not bore you with the details of why cant eat at the moment. Nor take my innumerable cups of tea, or coffee...., and that is usually a worse problem!

Is Friday afternoon. Time for people to head off to wherever they are going to spend the weekend. Me too. But, first, I have to put this post out there....., meaning it will auto post as and when it is necessary.

The countries that jail us?

Some countries have the law on their books, and, its usually too much trouble to basically go look for people that are having sex as and when they want to, in the privacy of their homes. But, Egypt thinks otherwise. And, in this country, there has been a silent but deadly crusade, or jihad against Gay Egyptians.

Assimilate this little factoid quoted here as you read what follows.
Homosexuality is not explicitly criminalised by Egyptian law, though prosecutors have often tried gay men under laws against “debauchery”, “immorality” or “contempt of religion.”

As reported by Solidarity LGBTQ+
There has been a deadly silent crackdown since the demise of the Arab Spring. And, worst of all, their is silence from inside the country. They report
The crackdown, the group states, has “nothing to do with law nor justice. It is all political and judicial whims which aim to oppress one’s sexual freedom and deny people autonomy over their own bodies, which has to stay as one of the state’s businesses to be controlled and used for the sake of the power dynamics and state’s interest. This oppression comes as part of a totalitarian system that seeks to control all aspects of individual lives, to fully oppress peoples’ dreams and wills, to oppress women and LGBTI+ and to affirm state monopoly over everyone.”
The bare stats actually dwarf what is reported on the rest of the continent.
274 LGBTQ people in Egypt have been the targets of police action,  prosecution and hate crimes, ....
....210 homosexuals and 64 trans people ...., caught up in 114 criminal cases and 21 hate crimes ...starting in late 2013,
The ... tally is incomplete; it records only the cases that have been covered in local newspapers and other news media. 
Our beloved, liberating social media is a deadly trap.
Social media, dating applications and the Internet were used to track and arrest LGBTQ people in more than half of the criminal cases (66 out of 114 cases, or 58 percent) 
 And the sentences meted out are no joke.
In trial of 11 gay men in Giza in April 2016, the group said. Three of the defendants were sentenced to up to 12 years in prison; the other eight were sentenced to between three and nine years, the group said. The sentences were later reduced on appeal.
Worst might be, in this Muslim country, the outing that occurs with the arrests and accusation. These are our faces when we are arrested and stand charged in court in Egypt in those infamous cages
 Photo; DT News via

I feel for them, Gay Egyptians.

Under attack, for whatever reasons, a victimless 'crime' of love that lies in the perceptions of others, but which is a terrible burden to who and what we can be in this life of ours. 

Our continent is no joke, for most of us. Takes real courage to live. And, sometimes this courage can fail us.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Queer Africans and the Law (1)

Woken to a very beautiful morning.

There’s been wind, and clouds, and more wind that shakes the world in the last few days. So, waking to little wind and a cloudless sky except over the mountain is special. Belly of sun inching up from horizon…., had to take a pic. No, sorry, wont share…., except with copyright etc….!!! Hey, allow me a small vanity!

Later in morning (oh, that was very early morning..), someone sent me a text…., where is the blog post of today?

Okay.., takes time to weave words onto the page…, but here.

Was thinking of the law and LGBT peoples of Africa. You know, in Africa, context is everything. So, what matters the law when pretty men in suits sit and meditate on morality that is hypocritical as they write it? Who polices the law?

But, it matters. A lot.

Was brought home to me when my country mates woke to design a law that demanded death of me. Yikes, that fight, I documented it on this blog. It reminded me that, though African countries are generally ‘lawless’, though I had been living a fairly confortable, closeted life, with odd multiple compartments that were mutually incompatible, the law still matters. Because, as a criminal, being found out and falling into the spiders net of the law courts in Africa is torture, designed by the worst torture masters. The law matters.

Baseline. Many of my African brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and elders admit, without remorse, that they hate Gay Africans like me. To them it is a visceral, 'natural' hate. They don’t need to justify it. Indeed, they wonder at the depravity of the international community that can justify that ‘Gay Rights are Human Rights’. To them, we barely rate humanity.

We are human. I am human. And, that I will throw in their faces…..

But, I digress.

So, in Ivory Coast, there is apparently no law that criminalises consensual same sex intercourse. And, that would be one of the few countries on the continent that don’t. Apparently, former French colonies. The British were more errr, ‘Victorian’ about sex!!!

But, case came to light, where two guys fell into the arms of the law  in the town of Ssassandra in Southern Ivory Coast. The details get extremely mucky. I admit to x-ray vision, but even my super eyes bounce off… But, the facts. Two men reportedly had sex together. Consensual sex. No law criminalises private gay sex. But, said the righteous prosecutor, because there is no law doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished. So, the admitted, bewildered lovers found themselves with 18 months long jail term…, because the court agreed they ‘should’ be punished, even in the absence of a law stating so!

Well, in its absence, apparently they were sentenced under the 'public indecency' act...., see, the court had to have a basis for the sentencing....

I always ask the question, rhetorically, but still. Why do fellow Africans believe I am so bad because I have sex with other people that agree? To us it is a pleasure, why do you mind so much?
Okay, fact is, people do.

Of course I cant get over it. I am gay. They have to be the ones to get over it!

But...., besides those of our countries which dont criminalise same sex behaviour are the majority that do. And those are a mess...., but this post would become too long. So, till tomorrow?


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Michelle the 'ape in heels'?

I was with a friend when I saw this bit of news.
"Michelle Obama 'ape in heels' post causes outrage"
Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who runs a local non-profit group in Clay County, referred to the first lady as an "ape"."It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels," she said.Local mayor Beverly Whaling responded with "just made my day Pam". 
Matter of fact, my day was spoilt.

In a way, I shouldnt be suprised at all. The world we live in, the people that are our neighbours, friends; they all may harbor the worst prejudices.

Come on..., I am a Ugandan. A gay Ugandan. Just a few months ago, fellow Ugandans were up in arms about a law that they wanted on the books...., a law that would literally have me in prison for life, just because I love another man. Not hate, not rape, not force..., but love another man. And yesterday, I saw an internet post from a 'christian', a Nigerian man whose depth of 'loving' hatred for the gay human being, gay African was breath taking.

But, beautiful, lovely Michelle Obama, the 'ape in the White House'?
Why am I shocked? Because Michelle is beautiful. 
Because Michelle is lovely. Because Michelle has done her best to stay above the bitter politics that have embroiled her husband's presidency. Because Michelle has fiercely protected her beautiful children above everything else. Because lovely Michelle, a Ivy League graduate, a lawyer, saw fit to be a 'normal human being' in spite of her husband's call to leadership. She tried her best to play a role she didnt find confortable, with grace.

But, someone else, because of the difference in skin colour, saw 'a ape in the white house'.

It is cliche, there will always be haters. Always.

Some people will always see me as Black. Homosexual. African. a member of a certain tribe'. Some people will always see the darkness of my skin, the broadness of my nose, hear my thick accent, see me as different, a foreigner, only think of what I do in my bed, in my house, with the men that I love.

And, that is why it is so important that I know myself. That I love myself.

That is why it is so important that you, and I, know who we are. And we self-affirm, and stand up to be counted.

That's why we need the fire in the belly to advocate for ours.

We are minorities. Always will be.

We will always be, in the hearts and minds of 'well meaning others' who dont believe themselves racists or homophobes or xenophobes as 'others'.

Because of that, because of that, we MUST affirm our humanity. We must not stop to speak out for ourselves. We must remember that we ARE. (And guard against ourselves holding similar sentiments against others)

Because we can easily forget and buy in into the hate that, consciously or unconsciously, flows from the minds and actions of others. We can believe that we actually are the 'apes' others think we are.

Ours is the duty to like, love, and affirm ourselves.

And, yes, WE CAN.

Michelle, and Barack, thanks for being such an inspiration for us. And, thanks for teaching us those -valuable lessons that self-love and self-affirmation matter, in this time and age.

Yes, We Can. And yes, we will love and affirm ourselves, and our humanity.

Yes, We Can.


Politics, NOT Betrayal

Apparently it was politics, and not open betrayal...

That is, the whole thing with South Africa and the Africa Group. Am glad it is..., because...., well, I have had so many betrayals by the people of my continent that it is a double tragedy when the single ray of hope seems to be dimming.

It is important. Very. Nascent, baby steps to get the international community to champion gay rights, and of course the rest of Africa up in arms as if us gay Africans dont exist and arent pushed to the extremes because of that.
If SA betrays its LGBT citizens and in the process kicks all of us in the ass, we lose, and lose big. But they confirmed.
As per spokesperson
South Africa’s Department of International Relations has categorically denied that it supports efforts to suspend the recently appointed UN LGBTI watchdog.
And the basis, as we had pointed out, was the constitutional provisions.
“We have a constitution that unfortunately some of them don’t have and we cannot on any multilateral forum go against what our constitution says. And we’ll stick to that because we believe in that.
“Our diplomats cannot vote in a way that is contrary to the letter and spirit of our constitution. If that means voting against the Africa group to which we belong, that is exactly what we will do,” Monyela said.

 There was reason for the activists to be disappointed, worried, and jumpy about the issue. South Africa, who had made the original proposal, had actually ABSTAINED when it came to voting in July.
South Africa shocked LGBTI activists around the world last week when it refused to support a landmark resolution on LGBTI rights at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
Trying to justify that position, both at the UN and within the country was a convoluted, confusing effort by the Ambasaddor concerned. Indeed, Steve Letsieke 
accurately pointed out to the Ambassador, that instead of manufacturing reasons for the surprising vote to sell out South African LGBT people, for reasons of 'arrogance' of other nations, etc, the ambassador had to remember that they served South Africans, as stated in the South African Constitution. And nothing, nothing should have have trumped that.
As reported about the contentious interview on air, the Ambassador sought diversion by claiming that not all South African LGBT activists were united.
Letsike, in turn, pointed out that even if there were disagreements, “You had a mandate; the mandate is the Constitution which prohibits discrimination”.She continued: “Unfortunately you are not consistent ambassador; unfortunately at the costs of lives… The mandate of the ambassador is to represent the Constitution, even if you have to be bold…”

The discussion concluded with the ambassador shouting over Letsike’s comments.

A continuing lesson in our rights as Gay Human Beings. They will always seem to be politically easier to kick aside, to push to aside. And, there is the continuing need to make sure that the advances that are gained are not reversed. Else we can all become very complacent.

South Africa is lucky to have a good crop of fearless activists that have been grounded in the country's struggle, and the lessons of democracy and representation.

The politicians were playing a 'double game', with the rights of Gay South Africans seen as the disposable football on the field. As Graeme Reid of Human Rights Watch observed

Experts, have however, claimed that Monyela is being disingenuous and that it was not required of South Africa or any African country to actually “sign” the statement to show support for it.
“South Africa did support the tabling of the Africa Group resolution and accompanying statement – it was a consensus position presented on behalf of the Africa Group, which includes South Africa,” Graeme Reid, Director of the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, told Mambaonline.
“In terms of UN procedure a country who disagrees with such a consensus statement would need to opt out if it did not agree. SA has not done so,” he explained,
“DIRCO is correct in that there is no ‘letter’ but there is a clear and unambiguous statement issued on behalf of all African states. Is South Africa saying that it is not part of the Africa Group?” he asked.
“It is typical of the double game South Africa has been playing at the UN,” added Reid.

That was a good call, South African Activists. And, yes, you did bring the politicians to the table and reversed a potentially catastrophic situation.

That, indeed, was activism for the LGBT citizens of South Africa, and the whole of Africa.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gay African's Secret

Every gay/queer African's secret nightmare.

Being outed, openly, maliciously. Your details, your very secrets laid out for the whole of your world to know.

Metro The Lagos Homosexual Story Everybody is Talking About
Earlier this week, an anonymous whistleblower shared the story of a secretly gay man in Lagos who is married. 
The story was shared after the disgruntled wife sent a message to online counselor, Joro asking for advice.
We grow up, taught early on that to be gay is to be evil. By the time we accept that we are, indeed, gay Africans, we have learnt to hide. Sometimes we hide so well, we hide it from ourselves.

But, this is a part of us that will not just 'vaporate, however we deny it.

We get married, (poor spouses). Some may argue it is selfish of us. But, we kuchus know it is almost inevitable. We wonder whether we would actually become straight if we have a child or two? Or, failing that, and under pressure by family....., get married to unknowing spouses, hoping against hope that that which we are, after having prayed for, exorcised, fasted against, will vanish in the loving arms of delighted spouses....

And then find the need to live lives of necessary deceit to survive.

When the exposure occurs in the newspapers, every member of the kuchu community rushes to the papers with the most complete story. It has happened to one of us. We want to know what details got out. We know who they have been sleeping with, who they had sex with...., sometimes they have been so closeted that few in the kuchu communities know about them, and we wonder how they kept their secret for so long and so well....., and shudder inside, hoping against hope that it will never be us, that the inevitable lies will follow us to the grave and beyond.....

It is a climate of fear. Living in enemy territory every day of one's life. Exposure as a spy almost inevitable however well imbedded you are. So, you must fear, and hope. and pray.

And, it is that fear that makes us so vulnerable to blackmail and persecution.
I will borrow the pic from a recent Human Rights Watch report about the unlegislated effects of Nigeria's anti-gay marriage law. That pic by Glenna Gordon......, somehow grabs the ethos, the hidden, tough to understand reality of a queer African at home. Take the time to read the report if you can.

Sometimes, after years of passing for heteros, we actually believe the myths of our luck and invulnerability.....

Gosh, freedom is only precious when you actually know the chains of fear that can follow you every moment of your adult life. How does one reconcile with it?

I salute all queer Africans. You live lives of courage, however much you might not recognise and know it.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Betrayal, by South Africa


Its a very strong word. Yet, if that is what is occuring, then there must be no compromise in stating it.

This beautiful nation, embracing the reality of all its people after the nightmare of apartheid adopted a radically progressive constitution. For the first time on the African continent, an African country's LGBT people had a constitution that specifically and pointedly protected them against discrimination. Here I borrow from that unique document.

All over the continent, LGBT Africans live under frank, open, government sponsored stigma and discrimination. The fact that South Africa adopted this constitution with these specific provisions was applauded by those of us who come from north of the Limpopo. Simply put, one of the things that is constantly thrown into our faces is that we gay Africans are 'un-African', a denial of our being, an erasure of our very identity as members of clan and tribe...., simply because we love differently.

That at least one African nation embraced, celebrated and protected her LGBT citizens so strongly and so specifically was a breath of fresh air for those of us gay Africans from other nations. It was, and remains a strong affirmation. Simply put, because South Africans are Africans, we were all proud on her behalf.

So, whence the betrayal?

South Africa is a sleeping giant on the continent. In matters of leadership, we Africans have expected a lot, I must admit. And, because the new nations leaders had to learn literally on the job, it has been a difficult thing.

We gay Africans lauded when the Mbeki government legislated gay marriage. It was amazingly heartening. Couldnt believe it had happened, myself. Had to get multiple points of proof....., as if the dream of an African country were it was simply legal to get married to my same sex partner was a mirage...., soon to disappear in days tough light. The Wikipedia article on the evolution of this is edifying. Actually, there was lots of opposition, demonstrations, and the ANC MPs had to have a party line vote.

The betrayal is fully described in Daily Maverick by V. Nepaul. In short
The first time any United Nations body approved a resolution affirming the rights of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) people was on June 17, 2011. The resolution sought that the United Nations launch a study into “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity”. It meant that there would be an official United Nations reference point for what constituted rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Who proposed the study? – South Africa.
Wow, that was SA boldly standing out as a leader.

A leader leads. Even when the ideals championed are unpopular. Even when the going is rough, especially on an issue as specific as the human rights of a group as stigmatised as homosexual Africans.

So, after boldly championing this, what happened?

This year, first of all, SA abstained from the vote of setting up the Special commissioner. And, it is reported, when the 'African Group' of which SA is part sent a strongly condemnatory letter, it is said that SA signed onto it. Or, didnt they?

One spokesperson says they walked out.
said Clayson Monyela, Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman, SA representatives walked out of a meeting when the calls were made."What Lawyers for Human Rights says is simply not true. Our ambassador walked out of the meeting because the calls are not something that we could associate ourselves with."
Did South Africa sign on, or not to the 'African Group' statement? A statement that is so against the spirit of the constitution it states
disturbed at the attempt to focus on certain persons on the grounds of their sexual interests and behaviours, while ignoring that intolerance and discrimination regrettably exist in various parts of the world, be it on the basis of colour, race, sex or religion, to mention only a few
......The group is therefore concerned that non-internationally agreed notions such as sexual orientation and gender identity are given attention, to the detriment of issues of paramount importance such as the right to development and the racism agenda. 
 In my humble opinion, no SA rep would sign onto such a group without going against the constitutions spirit of non-discrimination against a group specifically protected in the constitution.

And, if they just 'walked out', they lost the opportunity to choose leadership in this very difficult position.

Yeah, I know, South Africans are Africans, and they owe the rest of Africa a lot. But, they also owe the continent the leadership championed by the likes of Tata Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for values that are so clearly enshrined in the constitution of the country. Literally..., we Africans look to you, SA, to lead. And lead in difficult positions like this. It is a moral responsibility which the passed crown and memory of Madiba demands from his resting place. When you don't, we feel the betrayal in our marrow, to the depths of our bones.

I feel it in the statement released by the SA LGBT activist groups- 
The open letter, written by groups including the Triangle Project, Gender Dynamix, and Sonke Gender Justice, calls on the South African government, specifically DIRCO, to condemn and dissociate itself from the position of the African Group and to vote against the proposed resolution.
Support for the 'African Group' statement, overt or covert, from representatives of the South African nation is a repudiation of the rights of their LGBT fellow citizens back in South Africa. It is an abdication of the position and responsibility of leadership that is South Africa's heritage, liking it or not.

And, yes, I feel it deeply, in my bones.

As the experience of apartheid left in the still bleeding wounds and scars of this nation, stigma and discrimination need to be fought, boldly, whether it is convenient, or not. Else you fail to understand the lessons taught by that extremely traumatic time of our lives.

Stand up and lead, South Africa.

Else, this is nothing but BETRAYAL. 

Of your ideals, the ideals of your great nation.

A betrayal of your very selves. And nothing is as tragic as that.