Monday, July 10, 2023

Toxic Environment: Kuchu in Uganda, Africa.


Without a doubt, for a Kuchu (LGBTQ+) individual living in Uganda, and pretty much of Africa, the environment is quite toxic.
We discount it.., a matter of personal safety, physical and personal mental health. We have to grow calluses to our sensitivity. We have to have skin the thickness of crocodile hide to weather the hate and toxicity around. When the state and its politicians, church and mosque, and every influencer of note preach firmly the belief that we kuchus are horrible people, it is simply a wonder if and when we don’t start believing the same.

Of course we are human beings. We, kuchus inhale the poison and toxicity. We are insane in our sanity. We internalise the homophobia. That is a matter of fact.

Stephen Fry, prominent British comedian, had reason to visit Uganda during the hysteria surrounding the Anti-Homosexual Act 2014. He met and talked to Simon Lokodo in 2012, then Uganda’s Minister for ‘Ethics and Integrity’, and prominent, official anti-gay activist..., and Stephen Fry went back to his hotel room and attempted to commit suicide.
An adult LGBTQ+ individual, from a country and environment that accepts people of differing sexualities. Fry just had a whiff of the air in Uganda…, and he was lucky he survived. True, he leaves with bipolar disorder, which most likely made our daily lived reality precipitate, for him. It was reported


“he was prompted to attempt suicide after conducting a television interview with Uganda’s minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, in 2012. “[He] was a foaming, frothing homophobe of the worst kind [and] behind the bill in Uganda that was supposed to make homosexuality a capital offence, in other words a death sentence,” says Fry”


And the ‘foaming, frothing homophobe’ is a literal and accurate description of many of Uganda’s anti-gay activists, including the churchmen Martin Ssempa and Stephen Kaziira, and the politicians of course.

Wonder how damaged we kuchus on the ground are, in comparison?
Oh yes. We are damaged individuals. We wouldn’t be human, to live in this toxic environment and come out sparkling. We are simply human.

Wonder what effect that reality has on the children, teens questioning, discovering their sexuality?
Well, we are damaged…, But, that is life. We have to bear with it. Yeah, quite a few die, by suicide and otherwise. And of course we hide, however we can. That is the basic of survival, as and when one can.

Why the introspection?

An article in the Monitor newspaper. A guest writer, Reverend Gideon Byamugisha. He is a churchman. And, as a person living with HIV, he shattered perceptions when he came out positive, saying he had HIV. Put a face to the virus, confronted the prejudice, in and out of the church… And apparently he remembered. And remembers.

The article.
Yes, it has a lot of issues…, Reverend Gideon Byamugisha happens to be a Ugandan, and he believes quite a number of myths and prejudices that are taken as truth in Uganda. But, he also comes from a time and space that is intimately conversant with the might and cruelty of majority prejudice.

A simple breath of less polluted air, in the toxicity of ‘debate’ in Uganda about my sexuality.
It is not enough. We need a cleansing wind to remove the fog and smog. But, we don’t have winds in the foulness of air in Uganda. We only can celebrate this little breeze.

To contrast, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda is calling for a Crusade, Africans to ‘evangelise’ the world.., presumably with the gospel against homosexuality. Should we be thankful he is not yet calling for a pogrom?
The Moslems think us beneath the notice of a Jihad, thankfully. At least that is what I hope. The President of the Republic believes Uganda should lead Africa to save the world from homosexuality.

How astonishing, and embracing, for a churchman, a Ugandan, living in Uganda, to come out and assert that “Anti-gay anger is neither Christian nor African”.

Breath of fresh air, in a toxic smog indeed.



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