Friday, December 3, 2010

Being Gay and Happy

As the gay debate continues to attract widespread opinion in Kenya and the United States, I find it hilarious that it is the straight people who are at the forefront of defining the Gay agenda.  Yesterday Senator John McCain disagreed sharply with the pentagon chiefs claiming that the “Don’t ask, don’t tell policy” which bars gay people from serving openly in the military should not be repealed as it will affect combat troops. In Kenya, Prime Minister Raila Odinga was forced to retract a statement  he had previously issued at a meeting in Kamkunji, calling for the arrest of gay people.

The issue of Homosexual in Africa has been in the closet for centuries. It is considered a taboo and has never been confronted until recently when a group of Gay people in different parts in Africa begun to emerge and question why they are discriminated based on their sexual preference and why their right to choose is not considered part of the inalienable Bill of Rights package. Religious fundamentalists have used their religious books to oppose these gay rights campaigns on the basis of gaysm being contrary to their spiritualism. The moralists tends to lean on the premise that the gay lifestyle is unafrican while the liberals especially in Kenya support Gay rights privately for fear of backlash and dogma associated with such viewpoints. Majority of straight people who oppose or support the gay identity tend to be closed cocoons allowing the debate to wallow in mediocrity and emotion rather than common sense and humanity.

Gays have existed since the advent of time. It is astonishing that a group of condemned, despised and hated people have survived without the ability to reproduce from the early patriarch period through the 21st century. We can easily call this group the endangered tribe that has refused to extinct.  This paradox and fact should guide any and each debate since time alone has  shown being homosexual is more than mere casual sexual encounters by perverts as Christian fundamentalists and moralists would want us to believe.

First, the society has greatly misunderstood what gaysm is all about and instead accepted narrowed definition that gaysm and homosexuality is all about being top, versatile or bottom. About anal or back entry among men and dildos among lesbian women. This viewpoint is a fa├žade that has ensured  other social physiological reasons are not explored at least by the general populace beyond this simplified, chauvinistic and narrow mindedness.

Secondly, societies especially in Africa tend to harshly judge men who have sex with other men than lesbian women. Actually, in a recent study, 68% young men between ages 18-45 said they will be turned on sexually seeing two women kissing each other and turned-off or feel disgusted seeing two men hold hands. This leaves the question of men hate of other men who sleep with men is a cultural,religious or societal conditioning.

In his book, Velvet Rage, Alan Downs, Ph.D, says “The experience of being a gay man in the 21st century is different from that of any other minority, sexual orientation, gender or culture grouping. Gay people are different from on one hand, women, and on the other hand straight men. Their lives are a unique blending of testosterone and gentleness, hyper-sexuality and delicate sensuality, rugged masculinity and refined gentility.”  This is the point that proponents and opposers miss entirely when discussing the gay issue. The classification of this group has often been seen from a media and Hollywood viewpoint and often bombarded the society with the images and perceptions of the effeminate man to their horror and disgust. Armed with this little information, the groupings quickly form and the Gay  discourse is never explored or agreed upon beyond the question of why should anyone have sexual encounter with the same sex when there are so many opposite species?

I think  Gay men especially in Kenya should blame themselves for their fear and inaction to contribute to the current debate. The fear that if they take a stand they will be suspected keep even the very straight who would otherwise support quiet since the affected men themselves  save for the few brave souls that have been on the forefront of advocating equality tend to conform to the norms, barricade their true feelings, marry and end up living a life that is contrary to their true self.

The greatest contribution any opposer or proponents of the Gay issue can give is  to begin to encourage  Gay people to listen and hear their own story. It is the Gay,  lesbians and trans-gender people that need to hear their own story on their own terms. They need to know that God is not worried or wringing his hands about their sexual orientation. He is not afraid, upset or angry. He already accepts and love them the way they are and his love is unconditional and forever. Any Gay person need to know that sexual orientation is never the most important question, the question is really secondary to the desire to be loved, to belong, to be accepted and to love in return.

The second contribution perhaps is to begin to change our thoughts that are deeply internalized and held beliefs that being gay is unacceptable, unlovable, shameful and shortly  flawed. For successful people are those that build a life based on their own value and passion rather than providing to the world a false identity in the quest to be lovable and desirable.