Monthly Archives: October 2009

All We Need Is Love

“I’m FILLED with Christ’s love! You are just jealous of my relationship with the Lord!”

The above quote is from the movie “Saved!” which I had the pleasure of rewatching this past weekend. It pretty much sums up part of my conversation with someone who told me that I would go to hell for being an enabler of “the homosexuals.” That my soul is in peril for not condemning “unnatural” behaviour and when I said that since the key word in Christianity is Christ to show me where Jesus is against gay people … well, read the quote above. The only thing missing for it to be life imitating art is if she had thrown a bible at me and attempted to perform an exorcism. Oh, and apparently I should be more careful about voicing my support for the LGBT community since folks might reckon I am “one of them.”

I wont even go into the issue of someone speculating on the state of my soul or my spiritual life when we could be at best be considered casual acquaintances. What I do find unsettling is people justifying their bigotry by hiding behind bible verses. This pick and chose nonsense is what irks me. If you are going to quote me the laws book of Leviticus and the least you can do is prove to me that you are pro killing people who do not observe the Sabbath, that when you own a shamba somewhere you will not plant two different crops on the plot and that all clothes you own are not made from two different types of thread. There’s more, though none spring to mind at the moment. Point is, some “Christians” have the uncanny ability to ignore what they consider to be the outdated parts of the bible (yeah, cos slavery though sanctioned isn’t thought to be cool anymore) until a debate like this comes up and then all of a sudden they are literalists and can start chanting those bible verses as a way of justifying their homophobia. You cant have it both ways.

“Two Kenyan men wed in London”

The newspaper article that brought to light a whole lot of foolishness. I read the article and I knew the comment section would be full of gay bashing, irrationally paranoid, pontificating folks. I had planned to blog about it and then I actually read the comments. I was left speechless, I really was (anyone who knows me and my ability to be long winded and babble on about nothing for long periods of time knows this doesn’t happen very often). Though there are comments in support of the newly weds there are a lot more going on and on about how to “be ware of men who braid their hair and wear earrings” cos that is a path to gayism. Speculation as to what their sex lives must be like. Blaming the “west” and its propaganda for homosexuality. Hoping that the two men face the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah (how very Christian of them). Pseudo science about how being gay might be genetic but it’s obviously a biological malfunction and thus LGBT folks should be classified as disabled. This is just a sampling, there is much much more at the link.

I’m not under any illusion that Kenya as a society (this includes those in the diaspora) isn’t generally homophobic – there is no doubt in my mind about that. That doesn’t mean that I will use that as an excuse and hide behind that veil under the impression that “its just the way things are and how they should remain.” The obsession with what individuals do with their lives just because they are of a different sexual orientation is one that needs to end – as long as it is between two consensual adults and its safe what exactly is the problem? Pili pili usioila yakuwashia nini?

Slap gays” and “exerting masculinity and standing up to be counted”

Via twitter, I happened upon a podcast and following that a blog post that said that two radio presenters, Nick and Marcus from Classic FM, were generally, gay bashing and specifically advocating for slapping gay people.

… I don’t even know where to begin. Caroline Mutoko (Kiss FM) when contacted for info so that those who found the conversation tasteless and inciting violence could coney their dismay said that … well, I’ll just post her email, and that of one of the dj’s cos there is so much wrong with what they said its hard to paraphrase.

Dear Paula;
Please find Marcus’s response below and I have listened back to the session and wile I accept that they had too much of a good
Time, at the expense of the gay people amongst us, they handled the issue pretty well.

Let’s also not be pretentious, this is Kenya and we are more homophobic that any other nation in the region.
Marcus and Nick are simply exerting their masculinity above all other men and standing to be counted.
The majority of their audience expect nothing less and yes the majority of their audience is the average Kenyan
who finds the whole gay marriage issue unpalatable.

Caroline Mutoko.

—— Forwarded Message
From: Marcus Kwikiriza
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 15:20:10 +0300
To: Caroline Mutoko <
Subject: RE: Gay bashing on Classic FM MUST STOP

Well, I guess they are listening.

Plus the question was, Is it a natural thing(which we shall respect) or is it ujinga that can be cured by a slap? It was a question opened to the public. She could have called and given her two cents……FYI

Exerting masculinity? Is Caroline Mutoko aware that this is the excuse given to justify raping lesbians to “teach them a lesson” and to “cure” them? Is she aware that violence against the LGBT community is sometimes as a result of exertion of said “masculinity”? Does her co-signing Nick and Marcus’ topic of discussion mean that she is fine with this kind of behaviour and it is normal because Kenya and other nations are homophobic? And what in the hell does “standing up to be counted” mean anyway – its like she is implying that the presence of gay people in this world makes the two presenters feel less manly and their diatribe of hate is justified.

Marcus’ response isn’t any better. Reveling in the fact that outrage means people are listening and saying that it was merely an inquiry into whether being gay is something that can be cured by slapping does not exonerate him in the least. What pisses me off is how blasé  they were about the whole incident and dismiss gay Kenyans as less than human so its okay to have a little “fun” at their expense and ask if slapping someone will change their sexual orientation. This dehumanizing of human beings makes it that much easier to spread hatred. The people who make up the LGBT community are not aliens from outer space. They are our brothers, our sisters, our mothers and fathers, our friends, our relatives … not so easy to ask if being gay can be slapped out of someone when it might be someone you care about, is it? It certainly isn’t my idea of a fun time – I generally don’t advocate violence towards my fellow human beings and if others are okay with the idea of having a loved one slapped silly then there is more wrong with them than finding homosexuality unsettling.

SILENCE IS CONSENT

Statistically speaking, most people already know a gay person even though they may not be out. By virtue of the large extended families most Kenyans belong to (your mother’s cousin’s niece’s stepchild is still your relative) chances are you are related to one. Is it any wonder that some lead double lives when they hear people discuss them like they are some sort of anomaly and less than human? When violence against them is only discussed when people casually discuss if its okay to use it to “change their ways”? That their worth as human beings is so little that they can be in the same breath, vilified for simply living their lives and dismissed as being worth nothing?

The danger of a single story is one that we must actively push back against. Write/call to the presenters and let them know that hatred against fellow Kenyans will not be tolerated. Speak up when folks around you speak of LGBT people like they are sub human or beneath them. And for goodness’ sake, don’t go around calling things you don’t like “gay’ or saying “no homo” all the time – its not edgy, its ignorant and not to mention stupid.

Homosexuality is not unnatural. What is unnatural is sexual violence against children and women. Unnatural is politicians who fuck up our country and then pretend that its for our own good. Unnatural is people going hungry and dying in a country that is as blessed as Kenya. Unnatural is hatred toward our fellow human beings who think, feel, cry, laugh, love and live just like we do. If you are lucky and have someone in your life who loves you just as you are go and give them a hug.- if there is anything this world can use more of, its love.

*Many thanks to Paula Kahumbu for bringing this story to the attention of many and speaking out against hatred.

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Sigh …

i r sulkingSo far today I have managed to trip (over nothing might I add, I dont know how these things happen) and twist both my ankle and my wrist, pull a muscle when doing yoga and then shoes that I have worn a million times with no issues decide to give me a blister. Its not even lunch time yet and I want to go hide in a corner somewhere and sulk.

I picked one hell of a week to quit smoking – the only thing that could top what I think a hit of nicotine would feel like right now is like a nice steak wrapped in tiramisu and covered in dark chocolate and strawberries. Yeah, its that serious. Crossing my fingers and hoping the second part of my day goes better than my first.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

BreastCancerRibbon-7105391About a year ago I lost my aunt to breast cancer. It really hit me hard, cos even as I get older, dealing with death is something I have to get used to. I don’t want to have to learn how to accept that someone who you always thought would be around is no longer there to talk to. That no matter how many conversations you have had, there will always be so much left unsaid. That her not being around means no more spontaneous dancing when I show up at her front door or her calling just to let me know she was thinking and praying for me.

So, this being October and breast cancer awareness month here is my list of do’s and don’ts for not only this month but for the future.

DO: find out your family medical history. Yes, even if you are male (men get breast cancer too). If breast cancer, or any other kind is a recurring theme in the list of ailments your immediate and extended family don’t resign yourself to fate or shrug it off and hope that it wont happen to you. Gather facts, go for your yearly check up and try to live as healthy as possible. Remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

DON’T: neglect yourself or put your health and needs on the back burner. With life throwing everything at you it may seem easier to just put off going to the doctor, be too busy to take a moment to slow down and just breathe and find yourself further and further down your list of priorities. My mother gave me the best advice ever when I was going through a really rough patch – “number one on your list of important things should be YOU. If you aren’t ok, nothing else will work out.”

DO: find a way to support breast cancer research. Find and research charities and organizations who are involved in such endevours. Get someone to sponsor you for a run and if you can afford it, give money yourself. Whatever you end up giving may seem like a drop in the bucket but every little bit helps.

DON’T: just randomly hand out cash to any organization that says they are for breast cancer research. Do some digging, find out how much of the money you give will actually go towards finding a cure and how much will go into overhead. Beware of pink washing too – just because the yoghurt has a pink ribbon on it doesn’t mean that its there for anything more than marketing purposes. The feel good factor is not worth all the hype – some serious digging will be required to make sure that you aren’t duped out of your hard earned cash.

DO: learn to love and let go. Let those closest to you know that you appreciate them because the time the have on this earth is finite. Spend less time holding grudges, waiting for apologies from those who did you wrong and being bitter about what could have been or shouldn’t have happened. Cancer or no, one of the best things about being alive is your family and friends so go out and hug and kiss them and let them know just how awesome they are.

DON’T: allow toxic people to contaminate your life. As hard as it may be, sometimes its better to just walk away from situations and people – a clean break. Don’t allow them to drain you of your enthusiasm for life. Let go of the guilt about being selfish with your time and energy. Maybe in time things will change and you wont have the need to cut people out of your life anymore but don’t hold your breath. Take your time and just do what’s best for you.

Sometimes the whole “lets make it sexy” angle of breast cancer month irritates me. Its like, “save the bewbs!” and “think of the ta-tas” and whatnot. I understand that they have to get peoples attention somehow but severing the women behind those revered cleavages and push up bras from the outreach kinda defeats the purpose as far as I’m concerned. The first thing people think when they have lost someone to breast cancer is not “she had a great pair of tits, they will be missed” but more about how awesome they were as individuals. That’s who we should be celebrating, the women (and men) whether they survived or not. Regardless, I hope that the incessant campaign will inspire people to go out and get check ups and give support where its needed.

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