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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Africa: The only Continent that embraced Bisexualism.

Towards the end of 1990s, there was an alleged gay wedding in a small barber shop in Wandegeya.  If I recall well, it was around 1998. Many media houses published the event and it took only a short time for the President of Uganda to react. He ordered his tigers to go out in Wandegeya Township to find these so called 'faggots' and lock them up.

I was a hawker by then and I knew nothing about sexuality. I was not in anyway an activist and never thought of it. I must say that at this time, I was homophobic. I had never met a gay person in my life, but I hated them so deeply, just as the President did.  My hatred towards GLBT people have got its roots in my religious background, but not because I really knew what it meant to be gay.

The publication of this event in Wandegeya forced me to go out there and read extensively about what it means to be gay. My research proved that people do not learn to be gay and that they had no choice about it.  It affirmed that some people are born that way and you can do nothing to change them. And that homosexualism is not a habit. The word gay itself had less meaning to me. I must add that ignorance really fueled my hate towards a group of people I knew nothing about, just like most of you.

The publication of this wedding kept on going and much hatred was out there. I wrote to the Daily Monitor newspaper. I do need to check my archives to know the date which my letter was published. One thing I must note is that by this time I saw no need to keep records, today I need to recall this email but I cannot see it. This is a lesson well learnt.

In that simple email that I wrote, I asked the President (he was out of the country  earlier  when activists in UK forced him to comment about his remarks towards the gay wedding), He replied that “there were no gays in Uganda”. So in my email, I asked the President, if you claimed that there are no gays in Uganda, what about the group called Homoactive Uganda?  Actually, there was no such group at the time, but it was just an attempt to see the reaction of both the political arena and from the communities. I knew so little that people read letters published in news.

I was overwhelmed by the replies I got. A big number of them were hard-hitting on me for responding to the  President  and who was I to respond to him?  In their view, no one could respond to the President’s remarks. He was final and fountain of honour in the land. Other emails were calling me a hero. Some emails called demeaning names and others were asking me directions to where homo active group located or met. But there was one man, Chris, who wrote to me and requested to meet me. I agreed, not knowing what exactly the person willing to meet me would discuss, this brought in some fears but I had already decided to go.   I wrote the email to the Daily Monitor NOT because I was gay; I simply wanted to see the reaction. And I met so many people in person which encouraged me to push for more freedoms, indeed some of them were homosexuals themselves although I have lost contact for over 90% of these people.

 We discussed equality and human rights issues for GLBT people with Chris and how best we can address the problem. In the following week, I met several pro-GLBT equality Government officials in their office, I was surprised to note this yet on the streets of Kampala, homophobia was blazing like wild fires. I recall one official pulled out a brand new book that am struggling to recall its author and title, it was about sexuality and he had destroyed the first pages of the book to be on a safe side just incase his boss get notice of it. This guy was kind and simple, Yes he was gay I think. (He never told me about his sexuality). I lost contact with him too; he contributed deeply to the equality struggle despite of him being in the closet.

Another official at Kampala Club pulled out two books of Bishop John Shelby Spong titled “Living in sin? A bishop rethinks Human sexuality”.  This is a must read book for all religious folks. This is the book that ended my homophobia. It’s a great book for all who want to know about views on human sexuality written by a churchman.

Chris is in Uganda and I met him few weeks ago after almost 12 years. Meeting him in 2001 was the beginning of what you now know as the GLBT movement in Uganda, although many people try to bury it and they have taken credit for defending GLBT rights other than me, my work will always exist--be it documented or not. The celebration of any small achievement by GLBT rights activist is a collective responsibility of so many silent heroes and heroines that we must always recognise their role.

The journey is too detailed for the purposes of this article.  Nonetheless, I wanted to briefly address the issue of homophobia in Africa. Of all continents, Africa is the only place where sex is natural and its essential significance. There was no homophobia before colonialists. And the only normal way of having natural sex in Africa was being bisexual. In Africa, many people had sex anywhere by anyone any time. And it was ok. Africans could have sex by both women and men and this makes the Africa the only sexually active bisexual continent. Bisexuality has existed in Africa since time immemorial.

To understand my opinion, you would need to talk to the foreign gays in Uganda. Talking to them will reveal so much more than what you may expect. I have been talking with Heaviside (not real name), a gay friend from Europe. He had lived in Uganda for over ten years and he told me he had got more sexual advances and enjoyment from married and straight people in Uganda. The men who are having sex with him are men and married, If a bigger percentage of Africans are bisexuals, then why the hatred towards gays? For this question, Heaviside has got an answer from his own observations.

Heaviside says that real straight men cannot be threatened by gays. It’s only bisexuals that are under threat. In Africa, people used to have sex with anybody in secrecy and there was no tags like gay, lesbian or bisexual. These tags were introduced by colonialists and religions. The introduction of these tags founded the threat towards the natural way of enjoying sex yet the inhabitants of Africans, wanted to keep their great sexual adventures under cover, and this can be proved by Heaviside who is facing so many homophobic people during day and evening, these are the very same people he do have sex with. From his point of view, a bigger percentage of people in Africa enjoy natural sexual adventurism and that’s bisexualism although he admits that there are those who are 100% gays and 100% heterosexuals and not attracted to bisexualism.

Heaviside noted that, as a result of white male obsession  in Uganda by Ugandans, many women are coming to him, and when he tells them that he loves Dick so deeply, they got to note that he is gay, for them being gay is all about anal sex, so some women had told him how they will walk an extra mile and offer what he wants most (according to them, that’s anal sex) and one beautiful lady asked him if he could bring out her brother for him. Whom she had no idea about his sexuality.

This is now puzzling; can we say these men and women were bisexuals? Or they saw Heaviside as a walking ATM machine that could bail them out of poverty? Should we think that Africans would put homophobic views aside when it comes for money especially when it's night time? The answer is yes.

Religions are the cause of all the hatred and hate speech against GLBT people in Africa. There were no tags on sexuality in Africa before the coming of colonialists and religious groups.  Indeed there are countries in Africa that didn’t have any legislation against homosexuality. Take an example of Rwanda, up to now, its laws are silent when it comes to homosexuality. Why don’t Africans return to their natural understanding sexuality and end homophobia?  After all, the colonial masters left 50 years ago and they made an extra-ordinary move on arrival to their respective countries.  Some countries have legalised same-sex marriage, others are still struggling with this issue.  But at least no First World country arrests and imprisons GLBT people.

However, the anti-gay religious bigots of those countries have come to Africa to foster hatred that cannot be done in more enlightened countries.  You can always count on religions to perpetuate hate, violence, social and political oppression.

2 comments:

Henry Page said...

It was the Evangelists from the US that bouyed up the idea of legislating the death penalty for gay sex in Zaire (Pat Robertson - a vicious and nasty American 'Christian').

Why these people imagine that 'god' is interested in the inhabitants of this speck of a planet and their bisexuality is baffling.

souvenir pernikahan said...

Yeah i agree with henry said.