I saw this article in the Nation newspapers today and thought to myself ‘Not another round of gay-bashing again’.
The discussion on the topic has not changed much – homosexuals are still considered an abomination and though the hyperventilation that met such stories in the past is dying, the topic receives a lot of negativity. The media strokes these feelings – after all, its stories that sell that rake in the profits.
However, if you are a young man who happens to be gay, these sort of article can bring you down immensely. It is a well reported world-wide phenomenon that young homosexual men have some of the highest levels of suicide.
Many years back, this issue bugged me greatly. If you have grown up in a nation where homosexuality is a normal part of life, you will not understand where I am coming from. But I write for those of us who have grown up surrounded by homophobia.
You may have been brought up in an area where the bible is taken literally – and it clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination to God. The stories of Sodom and Gomorah may be a part of your upbringing. In my teenage years, I went to a church where there was no differentiation made between homosexuality and paedophilia – I thought homosexuals were vile people.
It is very rare for homosexual men in Kenya to identify as such. It is therefore difficult for people to believe anything more than what they are told and read. A few years ago, I spend a fortnight hanging out with a group of researchers that work with homosexuals at the Coast of Kenya. They introduced me to gay men in the community and I was able to get a tiny idea of what it was like being gay in Kenya. This may sound odd – but I felt really sorry for homosexual men. Their lives spoke of torment, family members would beat them up, to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. Almost all had at some point either run away from home or been kicked out of their family home as a result of their sexual orientation. Many had gone through a period where suicide felt like the best way out. Many seemed lost in a world that treated them like trash in the day yet turned to them for sexual favours in the dead of night.
About this same time, a few people in Mtwapa town on the Coast of Kenya, (which is said to be more tolerant of homosexuals than any other town in Kenya) were targeting gay persons as a result of the report of an intended gay marriage….
During that time, some clerics came up with the idea that instead of punishing homosexuals, they should be given treatment. I wrote a lengthy article based on the information I gathered about treatments for homosexuals given in the past and the current thoughts on therapy.
In most of the developing world, homosexuality is still a criminal offense.
Although homosexuality in Kenya is a criminal offence with a 14-year jail sentence, no one has been jailed for the ‘offense’. When Binyavanga Wainaina came out several years ago – the first Kenyan to publicly do so – nothing was done to him. This law- like the death sentence – needs to be erased. The few police I have spoken to about it would rather fight people doing harm to others.
And although the rest of the world may claim to be ‘advanced and accepting’ it’s still a big deal when a homosexual becomes a mayor or an MP or comes out. If they were so ‘accepting’ that would not be the case – otherwise we should also say ‘Obama the president of America, sleeps with Michele’ but we don’t – because that is ‘normal’. The whole world needs to leave what people do in their bedrooms in the bedroom. If you think homosexuality is morally wrong – then just think that the couple have only to answer to God and leave it as it is. What harm have they done to you? A man loves another man – would it, that there was more love – of whatever kind – in this world.