Monday, March 23, 2009

Calls to out gay Kenyans

Recently I was shocked to come across a gay forum where someone had written calling for gay Kenyans still in the closet to be outed. The reasoning given was that by remaining hidden, these gays are slowing down the march towards achieving an end to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. You can breathe easy I do not intend to reveal the name of that site as I am totally against this kind of militant activism on numerous fronts. My reasons are not entirely selfless; I am after all still in the closet.

I find calls for such direct action both insincere and deplorable. These actions would only help to diminish the very rights to freedom of choice and the right to privacy that we ourselves are calling for. It’s inconceivable that intimidation and fear, ironically the very tactics employed by blackmailers, should be used by other gay people. Even in cases where an anti-gay campaigner is identified to be secretly gay I would still defend their right to privacy, as unpalatable as this may seem.

My view is that these basic freedoms should not be applied nor enjoyed selectively.

19 comments:

  1. Me too...can you imagine the witch-burning that would soon follow up the current witch-hunt in Nigeria and Uganda. Prudent is best and timing is everything...can you also visualize a ¨fake¨ campaign for coming out, come out, come out, wherever you are (that would be met by those who wish to persecute LGBT people)...por favor, don´t put anything past religious zealots...when it comes to criminal thinking and full-blown PARANOIA, they are in the drivers seat (let´s not let them drive us over the cliff to die in the land of their imagined eternal delights).

    Say no to saying yes OPENLY until the time is ripe...you´ll know because the bigots will have whimpered away to try and find another foundation/victim to stand upon!

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  2. i for one agree with you... its up to each person to decide what life they want to live... last i checked i was not born with the gay and lesbian community clutching my umbilical cord, they didn't pay my fees, take me to hospital when i was sick, they weren't there when i failed exams and felt like a total loser that was my family and friends and for that they at least deserve the illusion of my sexuality if it will make them comfortable... that's the price i pay for all they have done for me... and though someone may say it slows the developement of the gay rights movement, i don't think that same someone will be by my side when i'm getting gay bashed, when i land in hospital, and i doubt they will take a gun to their head when i die from the beating...each of us comes into this world and leaves it as we came in, alone... those who care for us, we try and make the right choices for them...it is always about the individual... not about the community...its my life, so why should someone decide what i want to do with it???

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  3. Advertising, or hidding your sexuality is entirelt at the discretion of the party involve, i agree and anyone forcing the issue, should be shot. a little extreame i know, but unfortunatly tat touched a little personal nerve. having been outed completely by others and not my own choice. so im with you on this one.


    Choose choice, not force.

    Spyke
    XX

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  4. Hi Leonardo,

    You brought it up, the 'witch-burning', it's happened with alleged witches already! I saw this GRAPHIC video posted here. Warning, it's not one for the faint-hearted.

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  5. Hi Spyke,

    I don't advocate for any extremist action, it only spawns more extremism.

    x

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  6. Hi Anon,

    Spot on. It's your life, live it at your pace and map out your destiny. x

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  7. I think that any person or organisation that purports to 'out' anyone should be held totally responsible for the fall-out (esp in a homophobic society where the physical threats and risks are all too real).

    Thats irresponsible thinking from those who think they should control people's lives. What makes these gay people who are 'pro-outing' so different from the authorities who make up laws to restrict our freedom of expressing our sexuality? Why do they want to control us and make us all the more vulnerable in an already unsafe society?

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  8. Hi Tamaku..Great blog!
    Blogs like this and GNM's amongst others are already setting the pace for change. It will take a long long time before acceptance but we as African LGBT will also need to participate full out for this pace to hasten. The dialogue , which was non- existent a few years ago has begun and thats a great starting point. We need to answer calls to write (e.g Queer Writing co ordinated by Keguro )and compile our individual accounts of our deep struggles. We need to chronicle our achievements so that they give us more drive and determination to move forward when we look back at them. Alot of this can be done incognito for those of us in a position too difficult to reveal our identities.
    Names and identities may be forcefully outed but without any literature as educational reference points for the public that may as well be on our side, it will be all but just hot, dangerous air. Gimmicky too ; without nerve. We may as well be compared to the impotent farce of our political leaders; a waste of time.
    We may blame society for their dissenting views, but are we putting up a solid argument to warrant or afford them a second opinion, a second look at their attitudes towards what is something we have no control of and did not choose? Desmond Tutu , a African man and a powerful religious leader (all attributes of the usual dissaproving crowd, but alas..!) hits the nail on the head when he states that if the God he serves was homophobic , he would not serve that God. He and other influential black leaders have ranted the same sentiments but the public never hear of them, whereas statements by Moi and Mugabe are splashed all over. It is now our responsibility to bring to the masses these insights and our own ,through intelligent web and literal media amongst other dialogues, instead of outing comrades , which only begets a good traditional stoning.
    Tamaku,am sure you've submitted your own juicy account to Queer Writing...! ..(?)...
    Thanks,
    F.

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  9. Personal choice and privacy.

    thanks for the video on witch hunting.

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  10. The closet is free space and I am in the closet to some people and out with others. It is a fluid mode and when to come out and to whom should be my prerogative.

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  11. Hi Wildeyearnings and GNM,

    I thank you guys for your support on this one. The journey is long and the burden heavy that's why we need each other to cross the river. xx

    Hi Anon (F.,

    Thanks for your kind words. I am ready to engage in my own small way to this dialogue. And yes, I've written to Keguro to feature in the anthology of queer writing Kenya. I can't wait! x

    Hi Anon 5:24pm,

    I can't say 'welcome' for sending you the witch-hunting vid! It makes me sick but we need to know how bad things can be. Peace. x

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  12. just watched the witch burning video...there was this person who had just been burnt... and all he/she was doing wass rocking back and forth... someone behind them is whipping them, there's fire on their legs and they are in so much pain they can't even move... then some guy beating an old woman....he was flogging her like he was threshing wheat...this is the country i'm supposed to be proud to call home...to see humans treated like that just because they supposedly cast spells, is not right...nothing warrants punishment at that level...

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  13. Hi Anon 7:56AM,

    It is very GRAPHIC. This is what happens when ignorance is allowed to flourish. Starts with one irresponsible statement that goes unchallenged.

    x

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  14. To those who are willing to come out openly, I have no problem as long as it is a mature, well-deliberated and the safest thing to do.

    Kenya is in the process of change, slowly but painfully, in matters of Gay Emancipation thus we need to show prudence in such matters lest we spoil everything.

    That fora asking for people to come out can be viewed as 'neophyte zeal' that wants to tell the world 'I am gay, here I am' but that's not always the prudent thing to do.

    I can understand the author's push for such a move because he/she thinks that will clear the way for acceptance and recognition of LGBTI ultimately. If history is anything to go by, such a move is premature.

    Me and all of the gay Kenyans who are in 'passive advocacy' i.e. blogs, websites, social utility tools, e.t.c. have to realize that we are doing the hard work. Ten, twenty years later, when gay people will be free in this Kenyan society, we will have been part and parcel of that.

    I am looking forward to that day (when gay people can kiss, hold hands and be free to express themselves) and I will say to myself, 'What a wonderful world!' because I chipped in; and whether or not we are acknowledged, I will be content.

    I am not yet ready to come out; even to those close to me. What I do know is that I am preparing the field for another gay person to live his life to the fullest and without restriction.

    Knowing this is what makes me get sleep at night.

    Pater Nostra

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  15. Hi Pater Nostra,

    Thanks for that uplifting message. I hope more gay people can chose to prepare 'the field for another gay person to live his life to the fullest and without restriction.' We need more of this. x

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  16. no one has a right to 'out' anyone. it is a gross violation of privacy. its not right!

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  17. Hi mwendwa,

    These basic rights to privacy should never be up for negotiation. x

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  18. Peter Tatchell, did this to a number of people in the UK. It was not funny, I had some friends who were outed, and it messed up their lives big time.

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  19. Hi Anon,

    Peter Tatchell is controversial, I must admit I liked it when he attempted a citizens arrest of Mugabe! You are absolutely right, privacy is an important part in preserving human dignity. Thanks for your comments. xx

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Hey you, leave a comment but don't just be an asshole about it - try to be decent. That said you are welcome to heap abuse or ridicule if it makes you feel better. However in order to get published it must not be homophobic, racist or sexist. OK?