A lighthearted look at the Nazi-style legislation going through Uganda’s Parliament right now can be found on Gay Jamaica Watch:
It’s official – Uganda’s Parliament is working on a Homosexuality bill that would lead to a cross-section of its people jailed for life and/or murdered because of who they are!! NAZI Germany is being revived in Uganda – with the support of Parliament! The Bill has been sponsored by David Bahati (National Resistance Movement) and Benson Obua Ogwal (Uganda People’s Congress).
The language and spirit of the entire bill is too distressing to dwell upon at this time. Take the trouble and read it for yourself.
Unfortunately for them, they are not listening because they never do. Elias Lukwago, Kampala MP and legal counsel extraordinaire has warned Parliament about the folly of the anti-gay bill currently doing the rounds in Uganda’s Parliament.
And his argument is that “there are other laws Government can use to regulate the practice.”
Again, as I have argued here and elsewhere, we are best advised to keep our powder dry for the real battle if the bill is ever passed and signed into law. So, I for one don’t plan on saying too much about the nuts and bolts of what is wrong with it. And the reason is simple: if we point out what is wrong with it now, our detractors will use what we say to clean up the bill. Best then to shout foul as loud as we can on the discriminatory elements of the bill without guiding them around the glaring technical, legal, constitutional and human rights minefield they are sleep-walking towards with this bill.
In 2007 we wrote a book. By ‘we’ I mean a group of Ugandan gay men and women wrote articles which were compiled into a highly readable and educational book. Copies were made available to all members of Parliament (this was in the run-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, and this was our effort to ensure that homosexuals’ rights didn’t get swept under the rug) as well as diplomats.
Below is the cover of the book (ISBN 978-9970-001-90-3) as well as its blurb:
The book was sold in Aristoc at Garden City and Kampala Road and made brisk sales as far as I know. I need to check whether it is still available – which will indicate that more copies were printed after the first publication.
If you ever find a copy, buy it. It is well worth the read and I for one am very proud of the various gay men and women who contributed to bringing it to the light.
Probably not! But possibly yes!
First the NO:
We are all a product of our genes AND/OR our upbringing. This means that no one, no one, is responsible for his/her race, skin color, physiology or sexuality. Anyone who claims that we are should first explain at precisely what point they made the decision to be of whatever race or height, or when they made a choice about who they would be attracted to. So, if straight people don’t choose to be straight (they just find themselves so) it is obvious that gay people don’t choose to be gay.
Parents are not responsible for their children’s sexuality in as much as they are born that way. And we know that most gay men and women are born that way.
But, we are also a product of our upbringing. Children cannot, of course, be held responsible for the way they are brought up. But someone else can; parents. It is no secret that some children are traumatized by witnessing domestic violence, and we know that the main perpetrators are men. There is ample anecdotal evidence from talking with my gay friends that they were traumatized by the violence and/or neglect they saw perpetrated against their mothers. Most gay men usually dote on their mothers and less so on their dads for reasons that are best dealt with separately. But where there is palpable antipathy to the dad, you just have to scratch the surface to find tales of drunkenness, brazen womanizing, aloofness, mendacity, indifference, neglect, violence, dead beat carelessness and/or absenteeism; all of which obviously traumatize if not alienate children. There is a strong case, therefore, for concluding that some male children may react to such trauma by identifying more with their mothers and, in turn, feeling more comfortable with their ‘softer’ side in later life. It stands to reason that some lesbians could equally reject their female side on account of childhood trauma.
Why, I hear some ask, isn’t everyone raised in a traumatic domestic environment gay then? Simple. Because we are all different and thus react to events around us differently.
The lesson from all this? Parents (and especially dads), keep your abusive, neglectful tendencies out of your homes. That will do nothing to stop your children who are born that way from being gay, but it might prevent those who are susceptible to being traumatized by your behavior from becoming gay if their sexuality has not been already set by the time your dysfunctionality affects them.
The sum total of this is that however it is caused, homosexuality is NOT a choice. It is NOT sinful or something to be ashamed of either. And the reason why it is not sinful is also simple. Something that we have no control over, which we are by factors that are beyond us cannot be a sin.
Sins are actions, not states of mind or being. So, one could argue that acting on one’s homosexual feelings is a sin because that involves actions. But that raises the question – WHY? Why is consensual sex between two adults a sin? Is it because someone is hurt? Who exactly is hurt by private, consensual sexual activity between adults?
Is it because the Bible says it is a sin? Again the question that this perennial refrain never answers is ‘why does the Bible say homosexual activity is a sin?’ It is apparent why the Bible says that theft (for instance) is a sin since someone gets hurt by another. But why is consensual gay activity a sin? I am not aware that anyone has ever answered that. The Bible says homosexual sex is a sin (check here for the difference between homosexuality and homosexual sex), but does not give any reason why it is. And since we are human beings, with the power of reasoning, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should have a good reason for calling something a sin? What then is the good reason for calling homosexuality and homosexual sex a sin?
But … this was about whether parents might be responsible for their children’s sexuality. My thinking is that for the most part they are not, but in a few cases they might be.
The Pink Paper is reporting that George Michael’s long term boyfriend, Kenny Goss, left the relationship months ago on account of George Michael’s lack of control where drugs and anonymous sex are concerned. George Michael has admitted that he loves to cottage and cruise parks for sex, and his appetite for clandestine sex in public places has never ebbed, not even after being arrested in a Beverly Hills public toilet in a honey trap operation in 1998 and a drugs bust in London in 2008, also in a public toilet.
The thrill he finds in public toilets aside, George Michael (real name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) has also embarrassed himself a couple of times over driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, the most notable occasion coming in 2006 when he was found slumped over the wheel of his car in the wee hours in a drugged stupor. A few months later he crashed his car into stationary vehicles as he tried to make his way home – drugged and drunk. Talk about burning the candle at both ends.
When all is said and done, it cannot be denied that George Michael was one hell of a pretty boy in his heyday. Afrogay goes weak at the knees when he sees George Michael’s pictures of 15-20 years ago.
He was impossibly beautiful. Age hasn’t ravaged him as much as it has some other singers of yesteryear [money has certainly helped, no doubt] but one wonders what he is thinking, a man of his renown going out into public toilets and bushes for sexual trysts. George Michael has enough money to pay for whatever type of rent boy(s) to come to his house and do whatever he wants. He could literally hire a private jet every other week and fly boys from wherever and bring them to his house. Come to think of it, he could organize bush cruising in his home simply by erecting makeshift bushes, inviting men he has never seen and turning off the lights. Why on earth does he then resort to going to cheap and seedy toiles for his kicks? And how in Heaven’s name could he fail to see how humiliating such conduct was to Kenny Goss who was supposedly engaged to him? The mind boggles.
Georgios darling … it seems as though you haven’t heard of the Mohammedan saying“If Muhammad won’t go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Muhammad.” With your kind of money, you can have the drugs, cottage and the bush to come to you.
Just a thought.
I was 12 going on 13 … He was about three years older than I was.
For the purpose of this blog, let us call him Robert.
I don’t quite remember how it all started but I know that I was a rather popular 12-year-old with the older boys. I was … ahem … kind of pretty and so these boys used to come up to me on the pretext that they wanted to use me as an intermediary to meet my sister whom they assumed to be as pretty as I was.
Within what must have been a period of about three months, I was spending more time with Robert than with my own peers; after class, when he came back from playing football (soccer), after supper, before lights out and after lights out. He, however, never once touched me up in any sexual way (it was the other grubby boys who did) and never attempted more than to just … talk. But we held hands a lot as we talked.
Sitting on the bed beside him, his football cleats stank and his football socks clearly needed washing. But dirty football cleats and smelly socks had never smelled so good in my life. The truth is that I even adored the stench of Robert’s dirty soccer gear.
And then one night, after lights out, he kissed me. Here, too, I don’t know how it came about, but one moment we were holding hands and talking absentmindedly as we always did, and the next our lips were locked together. My world literally came to a standstill. I was transported into at least three stratospheres with ecstasy. It would be an understatement to say that, in that moment, I lost all my senses. Eventually, somehow, I managed to extricate myself from what seemed like an eternal lip-lock, and breathlessly but, strangely, calmly bade Robert goodnight and staggered to my bed. To this day, I have no idea how I got there or how I managed to climb the double decker. I don’t recall whether I slept that night or not but it is safe to say that my life was turned inside out with that kiss.
I had never been kissed by nor kissed anyone like that before; the gentleness, the passion, the naturalness of it was dizzying. That kiss remains to this day as vivid as though it were yesterday and I still find myself asking myself whether I have really ever felt as I did when Robert kissed me. Call it a childish crush but that was the first time that I actually felt like I was walking on cloud nine.
The following day, life carried on as usual. I met Robert on the way to class, we exchanged a cursory nod – like nothing had happened between us the night before – and went about our separate schools days. That night, we found ourselves on the same bed, holding hands and … yes we kissed again. It was then that it finally hit me that the first time had not been a dream after all. The second time was as intoxicating as the first and, again, I kind of tottered back to my bed in a daze. The questions as to whether this was really right were swirling in my mind of course, but what I felt was simply too good, too real for me to be bothered by the morality or correctness of what I was sharing with Robert. And the sharing went on for the rest of the term, with me staying up later and later, night after night, talking and kissing with what had now become the epicenter of my life. I was irretrievably, hopelessly in love.
Our affair spilled over into the mid-year holidays. I returned home for the holidays but not before we exchanged postal addresses. To me, Robert had the most beautiful handwriting I had ever seen next to God’s. I lived desperately for his love letters. And they came like clockwork, I think weekly. I devoured every beautifully crafted word and would read the sign off ” I love you” at least five hundred times. My letters were no doubt as deep and involved but it is not for me to describe them. Suffice to say that by this time I was a total emotional wreck over Robert.
We returned for the third and final term of that year. Robert had to read for the exams that would determine where he went for his high school. Our affair continued throughout that entire term and through his exams. As if sensing that time was running out, our kissing sessions became more frantic and our conversations took on added intensity.
Robert was a star student and, of course, he did well enough in his exams to qualify to return to the same school for his high school. Over the Christmas holidays, though, our letters became less intense and and frequent. By the time I returned for my next class in the new year, I had grown a litlte more of course. Robert returned a couple of months later as a high school student and he was now resident in the high school dormitory. We bumped into each other about two days after he returned to school, exchanged greetings and carried on. No words were needed for either of us to know that it was over. Interestingly, I wasn’t devastated or anything like that. Robert had shown me the best life of my young life and I couldn’t find it in me to see him as anything other than my first hero.
Of course I moved on to other conquests but none of the ‘affairs’ that happened thereafter (mostly with boys my age) reached the same level of intensity or wanton abandon. I guess I was older, less glassy eyed and therefore more guarded. Chances are, though, that it was a question of the first cut being the deepest.
As in Abba’s Our Last Summer, I gather that Robert is now working in a bank, a family man and a sports fan. How dull it seems … yet he still is the hero of my youthful dreams.
I can still recall, our first kiss, I can see it all …
David Catania has introduced the bill that would legalize gay marriage in the District of Columbia (DC). The DC Council is in favor of the bill by 10-3 and the mayor has said he will sign the bill. That means that, come January, I should be able to marry the man who will have me.
Hallelujah! Now I have to think about what to wear. Everyone tells me that I looked drop-dead gorgeous in white at the White Party last July so I likely will wear white. Of course that means that I have to be revirginized but that can be taken care of by a quick visit to my bottomist.
Then I have to decide what I want the wedding reception to look like, who should be in the bridal entourage [two friends have already asked and they have been accepted] and what kind of champagne to serve. Can anyone advise beyond Veuve Clicquot and Bolinger? AfroGay won’t serve cheap champagne – something to do with maintaining a certain image and ensuring that my guests don’t wake up with splitting headaches the next morning – so please suggest champagnes that are of equal quality to or better quality than Veuve/Boli. Nothing less will do.
When all the arrangements are made, venues booked and outfits delivered [no, my bridal party needn't wear matching outfits, and they certainly don't have to have local sewing machine stuff], I shall then have to find a man to get married to. Ever the eternal optimist. Aiyee!
Unless the earth moves from its axis, DC will join Massachusetts, Ohio, Connecticut and Vermont in legalizing gay marriage. And, trust me, the earth will not move off its axis any time soon. So my wedding plans can go ahead without worry that they will be derailed by a supernatural occurrence.
DC has a population of about 500,000 souls. Of those half million, anywhere up to 10% are gay. Surely AfroGay cannot fail to find a man to marry with such a high number of potential suitors.
Yes, yes, yes. You will get your invite in the mail or couriered to you vial DHL and FedEx. So, please don’t lobby or try to bribe my wedding planners. That may lead to your being invited only to the viewing of the wedding photos online. And we don’t want to ruin my big day with bitchy barricades, tarty tantrums and hissy fits, do we?
DEAR AMY: I’m a gay teenage guy, and I have no idea how to come out. My family is more liberal than most, but I can’t even begin to gauge their reaction. I know they’re comfortable with gay rights, but how do I know if they’ll be comfortable with my being gay? I’m not sure about my friends either — we never really discuss “serious” issues with each other, so how do I bring it up? With Facebook and e-mail taking over, should I tell them in person? And I have no clue what to do about the relatives and friends I don’t see every day — do I call? E-mail? Tell them over the holidays? … I might be able to bring myself to do it then, but it’s tough to do when I can’t tell how anybody will react. — Nervous
DEAR NERVOUS: … I don’t like is the pressure it might put on you to come out on a specific day. Coming out is a process that doesn’t follow neat guidelines or timetables. Start the process by talking with the person in your life whom you deem most likely to be supportive. If you have any “out” gay friends or relatives, they might share their experience and offer advice. As you and your friends mature, you will all wrestle with questions of relationships and sexuality (and a lot of other things). Please do not make important personal disclosures on Facebook. Tell whomever you want to tell personally. You can rarely anticipate and can never control how another person reacts to any particular thing. But this will go best if you present it as a fact of your life. If people have a problem with your sexuality, then they’ll need to do the work required to come to terms with it. …
The Supakoja (agony uncle) in me couldn’t really come up with a better answer than this and I have to applaud Amy for her thoughtful response. Obviously, such a subject is almost impossible to broach in our African settings where sex and sexuality are rarely, if ever, discussed. I am sure most of my relatives know I am gay (well, the Red Pepper made sure that those who didn’t were brought up to speed) but I have never really sat down with any close relatives to discuss my sexuality; they know what they know and that is all there is to it. In my mind there is nothing to discuss. That said, they must have questions that I know they dare not ask, but perhaps which would clear the muddy waters if they were asked.
On the morning after she checked in, the hotel management sent voicemail to the guests, giving them the dreadful news that there was a water outage. The situation would be solved if each guest coughed up about $20-$30 dollars to pay for a water delivery truck. Obviously, everyone went downstairs to the lobbby and promptly paid up. About 20 minutes later a water truck pulled up and headed for the back of the hotel, ostensibly to replenish the water tanks. Within no time, the water was back on tap flowing in every room and the guests went about their bathroom business, happy and contented. It didn’t seem to occur to any guest that it was odd that just one water truck was able to fill the water tanks to a 200+ room hotel in just one trip. But my friend, being Ugandan, and knowing a thing or two about life’s scams, noticed and kept her ears open.