“I am totally okay with being gay; my only issue is that I cannot live and express myself the way I would want to.”
Often times when I meet new people, particularly other Africans, we discuss all sorts of issues relating to our common characteristic – being gay. Since it is mostly forbidden and outlawed, we share similar experiences with regards to our gay lives but it is the differences that I’m most interested in. One of the questions that invariably yields the same answer is: given the choice of being gay or not, would you choose to be gay?
Most people I had met up until that point had uniformly said that given this option, they would rather not be gay. Yet here I was talking to this guy that I had just met and he was comfortably saying he was past such questions, that he was COMPLETELY okay with it. He told me that he had been Christian all his life, he had never been sexually or otherwise abused, he had always tried to be a good person and yet here was this aspect of his personality that troubled him: as long as he can remember he had always been gay. Deep within him, he had never felt that being gay was unnatural even after reading the Bible verses that apparently spoke against it. In his experiences and through the experiences of others as well as reading a lot of material on homosexuality, being gay didn’t carry any risk of harming anyone beyond the risks faced in all relationships. He was fully able to function and live a healthy life. He had made his peace with it. This is the statement that challenged my usual ‘woe onto me/I hate myself’ stance and put me on the path to truly exploring and accepting this side of me. I cannot say that I have gotten to the point that I’m at peace with myself – far from it – but everyday, it gets a little better.