The Other Team – Part II

By on December 6, 2015

A few weeks back I had a rather lengthy conversation with a dude who plays for the other team. In the event that you are unsure how many teams there are or what I mean by the other team, relax; you will be eased into the know really soon. For now though, allow me focus on those who are already with the program.

As I was saying, I had a proper uninterrupted conversation with a gay guy and I found myself trying to understand the world he and those like him live in. While I have explicitly made it clear that I play for Team A, I find absolutely no harm in sitting down with a member of the other team to try and understand what goes through their minds.

Tim (remember the guy from last time?) revealed some pretty interesting facts about the gay community in Uganda. The entire time I was discussing with Tim, I kept shaking my head in shock because there is just way too much that we do not know about the gay community.

And sadly, many of us are not bothered about it. We simply want to castigate the LGBT community without as much as listening to their side of the story.

Following stories that ran in a number of local tabloids about an apparent list of gay people, Tim and a group of other people spent countless weeks trying to bring back peace to what seemed like a community that was trembling with fear and uncertainty.

Today, the discussion about the gay community is no longer restricted to the Chambers of Parliament or to the World Wide Web. The discussion rages on amidst the population. The problem according to Tim, is that most people are not in the least bit bothered about getting the right information about the LGBT community because they have been biased to think that these people are sent from hell.

As an individual who does not subscribe to the gay school of thought, I quietly swallow a lump – knowing all too well that I have previously passed rather harsh judgment on the gay community in Uganda.

The other problem according to Tim is that there are particular individuals who seem set to create the most horrid image and impression about gay people in Uganda. For instance, while people might think that the gay community in Uganda is persecuted day-in day-out, there are actually a good number of gay people who are living comfortable lives in this beautiful country. How do they manage to do this? Well, they try to not make their business anyone else’s business and similarly are not interested in bothering themselves with other people’s business.

The issue of Gay Marriage

Quite naturally, in Africa, and in many other parts of the world, the idea of gay marriage is shunned upon. In certain parts, men who propose gay marriage are often lined up for psychiatric help with the assumption that they have lost their minds.

With the gay question being discussed at length nowadays, there is no more certainty about the unacceptability of this gay marriage. When I asked Tim about his opinion on the whole gay marriage thing, he surprisingly mentioned that he was not exactly thrilled that many people were clamoring for this gay marriage without even understanding the challenges that await them. Just like any other institution in the world, the institution of marriage is one that needs to be respected and just because one feels like they have found the right partner does not mean that they quickly look for a priest to bless their marriage.

There are many things that are involved in the whole marriage game. For the gay community, their worries are not so much in wedding budgets, venues, outfits for the day or praying for good weather. For the gay community, the worries are in the legal issues involved when it comes to gay weddings. Seeing as the society in Uganda has not necessarily warmed up to gay people, it does not make sense for them to begin demanding weddings and what not. For Tim, every war is fought one step at a time.

The Story of Timothy Kurek

In 2012 the Huffington Post ran a story of Timothy Kurek, a straight, Christian man who “came out” to his family, friends and church community and “lived as a gay man” for a year in order to better empathize with the life and struggles of queer people.

For the entire time that this guy was “gay” he learned quite a number of lessons about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Nashville, Tennessee. While giving a Tedx Talk about his experiences, Kurek told the audience that he decided to embark on this journey of pretending to be gay after a young lesbian told him that she had come out and been disowned by her family. At first he has thought it was his “job to straighten her out, to fix her. It was my job to share those six passages in the Bible I’d always been taught condemn homosexuality.”

However, after further reflection, he came to began to think that maybe these feelings came from a different place.

“Maybe that voice inside my head that told me to do anything other than be there for her in her pain… maybe that voice wasn’t God. Maybe that voice was the result of two decades spent in a hyper-conservative religious bubble.”

Lessons for everyone

As a Christian and someone who does not look too kindly at gay activities, I now know that there is more to life than sexual orientation or partner choices. I know that while I love women to the death, I should not fault another human being for preferring to like something / someone else to death. After all, one of the reasons why we as human beings are the ‘superior’ species is because of our ability to have empathy. One does not need to be gay for them to walk a mile in the shoes of a gay person. They simply have to be human enough to appreciate that every human being is created with a unique thumbprint, unique facial features, unique music preference and unique sexual tastes.

If people have different tastes in food, drink, music and art, why can’t they have different taste in sexual partners?

“We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”–George Takei

a.k.a Beewol
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