“I’m Gay & proud about it!” Ummm, So?

Why do gay people assert their sexuality as they do? Why is it that someone says they are ‘lesbian and are proud about it’? We see it in news pieces, hear it along the streets, and in social media. For those of us who really don’t give a rat’s ass (no pun intended) about who you sleep with, it can be quite unnerving.

One common version of a Heterosexuality symbol

But I usually go further and ask the question. Why assert it? Why say it? What’s the big deal? You don’t see me going around and say “I am _sexual and proud about it!” do you?

Here is one way of looking at it. It is known that being gay for aeons has been viewed at as a taboo, something shunned from society, something wrong. At this point in writing this I feel like this must have been written somewhere else but let me go on. I feel like straight people (which is assumed to be the majority, depending on your definition of straight – story for another day) have never needed to think about their sexuality. Only a handful have been involved in some form of same sex activity which (they say) somewhat made them settle into their heterosexuality. Because of heteronormativity, anything but heterosexuality, is viewed as ‘abnormal’.

So a gay person trying to understand their sexuality begins this understand knowing that they are abnormal, shunned and a taboo. They feel worthless and outcast from the rest of society who happen to be heterosexual.

In their reconciliation of their sexuality, they begin coming to terms with it and begin accepting themselves for who they are and it is in this acceptance that they feel the necessity to assert their sexuality and in some ways make the world know that they are okay with it.

This, for them, I figure, is one way of coming to terms with them being who they are and is also another way of trying to tell society that they may view his/her/their sexuality as a taboo/something to be shunned but they don’t have to because he/she/they are fine with it.

Maybe my analysis is not in depth, but it also helps me in some ways, come to understand why it is important to mention it.

But the so called ‘liberal self’ in me wonders, is it important? Why is it so important for anyone to mention their sexuality with such pride? Arent we all ‘proud of being who we are’? Maybe not. But I think this is something we as a society are yet to come to terms with.

We still live in a “majority rules and directs” kind of life. We have not allowed ourselves to be open to diversity and fluidity. Because of how we have been socialised, we are expected to to view the world in a “dichotomous, gendered, with specific roles, one sex” type of beings; heterosexual and heteronormative. We, for some reason or other, expect everyone coming out of a female womb is either going to be male or female and will be heterosexual; will conform to certain roles ascribed to their gender, and these roles include being sexually attracted to the opposite gender and nothing else. We even further expect that the female role and gender will be below and submissive to the male gender and role.

I still insist, this must have been mentioned elsewhere. I have just touched on bits and pieces of the broader topic. But these are things I feel need to be interrogated further, thought through and, be there any barriers, those barriers to be eliminated.

For me, I hope for a society where diversity and fluidity are a norm. Where being who we are is just that, being.

Enough of the Gay Bashing! ENOUGH!

A MUST READ!!!

Disclaimer: This is not my writing, I am sharing it because it speaks so profoundly on the matter.

Enough of this Gay Bashing. Enough!
by KM on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1:14pm

Let me state the bottom line upfront: I support gay people and their human rights and freedoms accorded to all (freedom from fear, freedom to live in dignity, freedom from want etc ) I will not stand by silently as the hateful debate about gays escalates. I am a christian woman and an African. I am a human being. I know and love many gay people. My church minister at Harvard was gay. One of my most important mentors is gay. I have worked and continue to work with the most intelligent and dynamic gay people. I have experienced sexism and racism. I have studied and researched genocides and purges based on specific intent to destroy “a group” of people. I refuse to be the silent bystander in this hate campaign.

The nomination of Willy Mutunga and Nancy Baraza as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice has surfaced a debate about gay rights ( or as the case may be, non rights) Haters and homophobes have swarmed out of the woodwork and in places like facebook, email list serves ( e.g. KPTJ) and comments portals in newspapers (where many go by fake names), they express the most outrageous nuggets of ignorance and hate about homosexuals, their fellow Kenyans and human beings. Both Willy and Nancy are well respected human rights advocates who believe in the indivisibility of rights. Willy wears an ear ring on his left ear ( 🙂 ), and Nancy’s PHD thesis iis on the rights of homosexuals in East Africa. However, the debate is quite un informed and becoming increasingly uncivil.

The bias against homosexuals can escalate to murderous levels as we have witnessed in the recent killings of lesbians in South Africa. Threats against gay people and the folks who support them, is the subject of proposed legislation in Uganda and other places. The debate forms part of cultural , political , social and religious debates. Many human rights activists are afraid to take on advocacy on behalf of homosexuals because this is not “politically correct’ . You see, a friend told me yesterday , one’s social standing may be ruined by taking on too open a position on ‘these people’ . To paraphrase Peter J Gomes, ( Harvard Memorial Church Minister ) one’s stand on homosexuality detrmines one’s standing on society’s scale on virtues and values , making the topic almost undebatable.

So it’s a good thing Willly & Nancy happened and created this opportunity to re-engage the debate (always lurking under the surface) . For people who identify as christians, the homosexual debate is very alive and disturbing. The narrative of Sodom & Gommorrah, the law of Leviticus , the Deutronomic sanctions and the teachings of Paul provide ample ammunition to close the debate. Remember that Biblical text also had quite a bit to say about women ( 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2: 11-12) and slaves (Ephesians 6:5) We have been able to find redeeming texts in the Bible that equalise all children of God. If you read Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s sermons and speeches on gay people you will find these(I have pasted one of his speeches below) .

But we insist on making homosexuality only about sex, we diminish the life experiences of our fellow human beings. Nobody focuses on the sex lives of heterosexuals do they? Yet when we discuss homosexuality, it is always about the sex and especially the mechanics of it. Do heterosexuals have their minds in the gutter ALL the time?? “THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE’ have lives outside of sexual relationships. They have hobbies, homes, children,families, interests, jobs. They have full lives, doing important things that benefit heterosexuals perhaps even more than themselves. They don’t sit around thinking …”ahh ….mmmh…..I wonder when I’m gonna have my next homosexual experience”!

Friends, can we have a civil informed debate that illuninates and advances “ubuntuness”? Can we help stop the hate and fear ? I think It’s TIME to stand up and be counted against this injustice.

KM

_________________________

Desmond Tutu’s Speech (archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.)

Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong.

It is time to stand up against another wrong.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God’s family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded. “But they are sinners,” I can hear the preachers and politicians say. “They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished.” My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love? The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

*Over & Out*

IDAHO–International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia

IDAHO special message – May 17th around the world

From: Day Against Homophobia contact@dayagainsthomophobia.org
Sent: Tue, May 17, 2011 8:32:25 AM
Subject: IDAHO special message – May 17th around the world

IDAHO logo

An impressive global program for the 7th edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is taking place this week with hundreds of events planned in over 70 countries.

While most events take place successfully, incidents in Podgorica, Minsk or Moscow remind us that violence, discrimination and stigmatization is still the everyday reality for people because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

All over the world, thousands of activists are mobilizing for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This year’s IDAHO will break records of mobilization and outreach, as an estimated 50 million people will be exposed to campaign messages in more than 70 countries, calling for an end to discrimination and violence against people on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The mobilization stretches across all regions, with nationwide events in almost all European countries but also in places as different as Kenya, Indonesia, Fiji, Cuba, Mongolia, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, China or Russia, to name but a few.

IDAHO guys kissingThe global webportal of the Day aims at giving an insight into the extent and diversity of the mobilization and brings information about regional campaigns such as the Latin American campaign “Cures that Kill” which sees organizations and institutions in 14 countries in the region unite against ‘reparative’ therapies [Other Sheep editor’s link on ‘reparative’ therapy], or online mobilization actions such as the participatory video project “As I Am”.

Visit the IDAHO site for more information on activities and campaigns and spread awareness on your sites, Facebook profiles or by any other means.

For events that are not reported on the site, please send us an email to contact@dayagainsthomophobia.org

In solidarity The IDAHO Committee


Editor: Day Against Homophobia
http://dayagainsthomophobia.org

KENYA NI YETU!!!

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WHOA!!!

I am writing again! And I have no clue what to tell ya’ll. Point is, I have been busy. Oh so busy. Its raining outside and I chose to stick around in the office as I let the time pass by and the rain and traffic subside. We all know what Nairobi rain makes our drivers do!! Eesh!

Anywho, there is something that has been on my mind for a while now. I am sick and tired of watching news nowadays. Yeah, I know, I’m not the only one. But don’t we have a say as to what is newsworthy? Nowadays even tv stations have the audacity to show us something then pose the question”was that newsworthy?” NKT!! Malenge wao!

Mara its Ocampo this, mara its the Hague six that… I AM TIRED!! Then I hear they want to sijui defer the ruling or whatever. Are they freaking serious? People have been languishing in IDP camps for upto 5 years now and this is what they come up with? All this back and forth and hurling of insults at one another…

KENYANS WAKE THE EFF UP!!!!!

I swear if I had the machinery I would beat up every freaking kenyan and tell them to grow the eff up. I am so so pissed off at ourselves. We continue making the same stupid ay hole mistakes over and over again like a bunch of nitwits and then come round and ngwe ngwe “naomba serikali”. Puh! Bagaz!

All ye reading, it is on YOU to go out there and make a difference. Enough talk. Enough blogging. Unless we speak of it, and do it, we shall never see it come to pass. We can make a difference. Why do we always say we want change yet we do nothing about it? Its upon us to make the change we want to see.

KENYA NI YETU!!!!!!!!

Kenya Ni Yetu

Photo courtesy of: @Truthslinger

*Over & Out*

Monday Rant!

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Whoa!

A week has passed and what? The last post I had was on Monday? C’mon Joliea! What the hell is going on? You can’t keep doing these disappearing acts!!! Oh well, cant blame ya much.

This week on Monday Rant! there are a few things I’d like to point out.

1. The Death of David Kato: We all have heard of this human rights defender in Uganda who was known for fighting for the rights of LGBTI Ugandans. It is so unfortunate that someone went ahead and killed him in broad daylight. Now I don’t want to go into details of how it happened and why it happened, but I do know that the greater human rights defenders‘ community is both angered and saddened by his sudden loss. Its a shame that we shall never know the real motive of why he was killed.

David Kato

2. Small Roads in Kilimani: I work in the Kilimani area. For the last few years I have been around this place, one thing I shall forever keep ranting about is the state of the roads! Gosh! The roads are terrible to say the least. I dont drive. So the roads, are, well, not such a concern for me as is THE PATHWAYS!! damn! Where the eff is Kanjo? Why arent they repairing the roads properly? And whenever they do, they ALWAYS forget to fix the pathways. Case in point is that newly made section of James Gichuru Rd near The Junction. I mean, seriously? Are they that daft? Cant they see the kind of human traffic around that area and make necessary measures to ensure they are catered for? Not all of us are priviledged to be behind a steering wheel people!

3. Last but not least, ITS END MONTH PEOPLE! WUHUU! We were paid and damn was I broke! Ubaya ya January ni ati madeni tu ndio si hulipa. So if I owe you, mteja wa nambari uliopiga, ataonekana tena February! If you owe me, FYI, I am really good pals with those thugiz who did the CCK ad! And no, they were’nt just acting!

I am trying to be in a good mood. So my rant will end there. Ofcourse this does not mean I shant continue ranting, follow me on Twatter and see 🙂

*Over & Out*

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Nairobi, Kenya, December 17, 2010

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The day finally arrives TOMORROW! So prepare yourselves people. Check out the event details, the facebook page and follow their tweets for more. Let us make a difference! I got this post from a fellow supporter.

POSTED AT DECEMBER 15, 2010 // DIARY OF A PROUD KENYAN WOMANSOCIETY

For years, sex workers across the globe have suffered abuse at the hands of clients, the police and the general public who look down upon them because of the line of work that they have chosen.

Sex workers are now working towards a revolution and many are standing in solidarity with them to see a change, which requires everyone to start treating sex workers like human beings with civil and human rights, rather than criminals.

December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. You can read more about this here.

On Friday, 17th December, 2010, this event will be marked in Kenya for the first time and will include a silent street procession, information about sex worker rights issues, testimonies by sex workers who have experienced violence, short film screenings, a riveting spoken word performance by Wanjiku, music, poetry, theatre and dance by sex worker groups and children of sex workers and a candle light vigil to remember sisters and brothers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Speakers will include Peninah Mwangi, Willy Mutunga, Dorothy Ogutu from the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance, Zawadi Nyong’oEsther Passaris, and many more.

The silent public procession will start at Koinange Street, and ending at the Sarakasi Dome, in Ngara, where the rest of the programme will be held.

You can also read a collection of short stories about sex workers and their experiences here.

*Over & Out*

Sex Worker, si “Poko”!

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The other day I got the priviledge to be in the same room as sex-workers in East Africa. I had the chance to hear their stories and share in their joys and more so their woes. It was quite an experience for me and I shall live to remember it.

Now, that is not the reason I set out to write this post. I must admit, the first first times I ever thought of sex work I felt like vomiting. I couldnt imagine someone giving themselves to someone else in order to earn a living. I couldnt imagine someone having relations (am using nice terms eh? Hehe!) with like say ten people in one night! Seriously!

But isn’t that the stereotype we’re used to? Isn’t that what we grew up being told that ‘prostitutes’ are? We’ve been told that prostitutes carry all manner of viruses. We’ve been told that they can’t have babies because of all the abortions they’ve had. We’ve been told that they’re loose and can’t hold a relationship. As in, need I say more? Is this true? Aren’t they human beings too? Let me invite you into my way of thinking. Maybe you’ll agree with me. I will take a rights-based approach to addressing this issue. No moral standing whatsoever, but I shall mention my reservations about sex work.

Sex work the way I view it is okay. Not many people would agree with me on that level. But why do I think its okay? Because I believe there is a need, and that need has to be met. I won’t bother you with much details but I shall mention just one example.

Picture a man (stereotypical-I know) who works long hours, doesn’t have the time to find a decent woman to be in a relationship with, or simply doesn’t want to, doesn’t want to go to a bar and struggle getting a one night stand, and is (quite obviously) in need for some sex. Now what does he do? Oh, lest I forget, his relationship with his hand has gone to the dogs so that’s out of question too… atleast for this day/night. So what does he do? “Dial 1-800-U-CAN-DO-ME” flashes through his mind. Its quick and easy and hey, no strings attached!

Don’t forget that this is but one scenario. So there is a man, in need for some quick sex, and who is to offer this service? A sex worker. Simple.

Sex workers are not promiscuous. Okay, not all of them are at least. And in any case, it depends on how you view promiscuity.. but that’s another conversation all together…I digress.. Promiscuity. I don’t think its about promiscuity. Its about the work. Once you try to divorce the sex from the sex work then maybe it may make some sense. What am I saying? Don’t look at it the way you personally view sex. And I mean how sex is for you. If you look at it in a ‘sex-work’ angle, it may make some sense. I know I know, its hard. Its hard to imagine someone engaging in something we hold so dear as sex for money. At least for me it is. But somehow I can understand. I can understand that its possible to divorce emotions from sex. Its possible to have sex with someone and enjoy it-or not-and purely for money. Its possible. Its happened before so its possible.

Its not all about the money. Believe it or not, some sex workers actually enjoy their job much more than you can imagine. They have a wild sex drive and thirst for sex that seems never to end. So why not make money from this thirst? Seems fair, no? Some sex workers really love the job. They like all the sex they can get, and also get money for it! Makes you wonder why you’re doing that job you’re doing for a moment right? Haha!

They deserve to be treated with dignity. Wooow… some people are eyeballing me right now. I didn’t flinch. I meant it. Just because someone is having sex for money (or something similar) doesn’t give anyone the right to judge them. All they ask for, no, demand that is accorded to them, is dignity and respect. We treat them as trash, brandish them as lower than dirt and even go as far as to rape them “to teach them a lesson”. Its cruel and inhuman. We need to stop judging them because it is not in our place. We also need to remove our head from under the sand. I mean, isn’t prostitution claimed to be the oldest profession? And if you think about it critically, haven’t we (who have sex) all given or received sex in return for something at least once in our lives? For love, for companionship, to get rid of that dreadful ‘vaginity’, to make sure we’re not ‘the only one’s who haven’t done it’, and so on and so forth? And then the name, its SEX WORKER, not ‘poko’ or ‘prostitute’ or any other name that might be or is offensive and/or degrading.

Finally, here is what Sex Worker Rights Activists try to tell you:

“WE WANT RIGHTS, NOT RESCUE

I could go on about this, but I will put my fingers to rest. Tell me what you think. Lets discuss.

*Over & Out*

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