Friday, July 14, 2023

The Kuchu’s Right to Faith and Belief (1)

We Africans are a spiritual people.
The reasons for that might be myriad, and frankly un-understandable to me as an individual, but, it is an enduring fact of social existence on the continent. Growing up and living here, one cant help but be impressed at the depth and breadth of spirituality and beliefs.
Kuchus, (LGBTQ+) Africans, are also deeply spiritual people, like other Africans.
That is also matter of fact. These are our people, we cannot reject our people, even when the leaders disdain and attack us. We are, for all our putative crimes, we are African. With the blessings and curses that come with that identity.

Most, Africans, in Africa, strongly and vigorously prescribe to an inalienable right to faith, belief and religions, as a strongly held convictions.
An apparent paradox to that is that many of my fellow Africans would seek to deny the Kuchu, the (LGBTQ+ African) the right to belief, on account of their sexuality. Indeed, many fellow Africans fervently seek to convert the Kuchu to their own interpretation of faiths and scriptures.

I am African. I reverently and fully embrace my identity as African. And yes, poke my finger in the metaphorical eye of any who would seek to deny my identity as African.

My inalienable right to faith and belief I also embrace.
Oh yes, I do. I do not believe. And, I strongly believe that as strong as your right to believe what you believe is, that is as strong as my right not to believe in what I don’t believe in.
Oh and yeah, it started off being cheeky…, ended up…, well, an earned scepticism.

Quite a number of fellow Africans have interpreted my lack of a confirmed faith as a result of my sexual orientation. That is not accurate. The vast majority of kuchus that I know are people of faith. They believe, and are members of the major faiths and religions.
And, Kuchu believers have a right to faith, as inalienable as that of any other African’s.

Logical, isn’t it?
Yet I have sat across a table from and listened in wonder as prominent ‘believers’ sought to impress on me how faithless it was to be kuchu. That because I am kuchu, that definition totally defines my spirituality as godless, demon possessed, anti-god, anti-morality, anti-humanity. Anti-gay rhetoric in Uganda, and quite a bit of Africa denies our humanity, and much of the semblance of what, in our African eyes, marks a human being. Check out this, a report on the debate on an anti-homosexuality bill in the parliament of Ghana on 5th of July.


“Minister ..,Dan Botwe, who described as “madness” the activities of lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and transgender (LGBT) humans.. a Satanic force that should not be allowed to fester.., For him, “eternal vigilance” should be exercised by the country”


It is the rhetoric of dehumanisation, embraced by the prominent influencers, and firmly believed by leaders, political, religious and spiritual in a lot of Africa.
We inhale all that toxicity, and we kuchus also tend to believe it, till we stand up and assert that, hell on earth, we are still demonstrably human, and our spirituality, an inherent part of our humanity, cannot be taken away from us. Simply because we are as human as those who are throwing the stones, the anti-gay.

After the debate on the anti-homosexuality bill in the Ghanaian parliament this month, it was time for Ghanaian politicians to go all out and preach and articulate their hate of the Ghanaian Kuchu.
Hey, I am a Ugandan. The cycles of hate are becoming quite predictable, in Uganda and outside.
Hon. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku (MP for Sissala East) of Ghana is apparently cashing in. He was hitting the airwaves, and took the time to pen titled Ghanaian Culture and the Gay Menace. Ironically regurgitating the talking points of the American Far Right in American Cultural Wars. The originality was…, distinct, is the word.

But, Hon Issahaku first had to impress on his Ghanaian audience how much against scriptures the kuchu is.
He quotes Christian scripture, and Islamic scripture. He hints that African religion, pre-colonial, was anti-homosexual (that assertion is suspect to say the least)
Preaching to the converts, as most anti-gay activists in Africa do, and love to do. The aim is to shower up their credentials as upright and moral human beings, prominent members of society.

A distinct fact they ignore, as Amidu Chinnia Issahaku did ignore, is that Kuchu (LGBTQ+) Ghanaians exist.
And, they believe. They are human beings, and have a spirituality that is undeniable as human beings. And, of course they have come to a reconciliation of their faiths and beliefs, and their sexualities.

Amidu Chinnia Issahaku believes that because he interpretes religion as unwelcoming to Kuchu Ghanaians, that there are none that welcome them. Thankfully, we do have alternative communities that welcome us. And, the Rt Honourable member would be quite flabbergasted that the reigning Pontiff of the Catholic Church actually welcomes us. And there are quite a number of alternates to his apocalyptic vision of our evilness.

Of course, there are some like me…, ahem, ahem, ahem.
I sincerely don’t believe, even though I believe in your right as a human being to believe.
But, I have come across ‘believers’ who insist on quoting their scriptures in my surprised face…, and I ask myself, what part of ‘I don’t believe’, don’t they understand? I get them.., I am an African, a human being. Surely I must believe…,
Those discussions have evolved my thinking, but I sincerely don’t appreciate being informed of how bad I am supposed to be according to your scriptures, however holy you believe them to be. I just don’t believe.

In all his fervency, Amidu Chinnia Issahaku and other anti-gay people in Uganda, like Martin Ssempa and Stephen Kaziimba, fail to grasp something important. Which is quite frustrating, to them, I imagine. They can use their powers to silence us, but, because we are, and we are human just like them, we will always claim and embrace our basic humanity.
Their counter is dehumanising and objectifying us; classic pathways of prejudice, still balking at the basic fact challenge. Our humanity; we are human.

We are Kuchu. Our right, as human beings, and as Africans to faith and belief is a pragmatic matter of fact. We are. And, we are human beings. And, we are spiritual.
Faith is a personal thing…, and we will always embrace our own spirituality and spiritualties. Dehumanising rhetoric, however holy and righteous it sounds runs counter to our experience of humanity. Its like the struggle one has to impress another that a rock is bread. Reality wins out.

Or at least so we hope.



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