A PanAfricanist Queer Womanist Collective
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Paul, In the Letter to the Galatians (Chapter 5 Verse 1.)
On the 14th of Feburary Hon. William Ruto, Member of Parliament for Eldoret North constituency, called homosexuals “dogs and prostitutes” during a televised debate held at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. A friend of mind stated later, when we were throwing around thoughts about the whole thing, “This is why I can never go back to church. What did the church say when he said that?”
So his statements, televised and radioed into the homes of Kenya, with no rejoinder by any party, are allowed to be singularly the statement from the Kenyan government AND the Kenyan church combined, on homosexuality. That gay people are prostitutes and dogs.
It is flabbergasting that we shout for the separation of Church and State so loudly, until there is unity in something to show hatred towards.
But that’s an issue that would need another whole blogpost by itself. And perhaps it will have one. So I will not digress. I will say this.
The phrase “family values” is being thrown around in defence of morality.
But we all know what Kenyan families really value.
Saying you are fine when you are not. Staying with a husband that beats you and telling the wife to pray that he changes (but still tell people at church that she’s fine.) Accepting that your husband has a mistress and is using your salary to support her. Telling brides-to-be that they need to have thermoses of warm water and white towels by the bedside to keep their men clean and their sheets stain free, to clean themselves after every (missionary) sex act, so that they can be clean again. Telling men that it’s OK to have a wife for the ordinary things and a mistress for the kinky ones, because wives should be clean and they only exist to live within the boundaries that you have created for them. Telling women they need a man’s consent for a contraceptive choice. Shouting insults and obscenities at children. Never allowing them to have opinions that are different from parents. Depersonalising them and reducing them to a classroom grade. Forcing them into career choices they hate. Comparing them relentlessly with other people’s children and making them acutely feel their lack. Being OK with our sons making girls pregnant and not supporting the babies because the little slut must have asked for it. Having daughters that have to keep their pregnancies and their incidences of sexual assault, defilement and rape secret. Fighting with our siblings over pieces of land and property. Killing them over the same. Having no problem with dividing up the belongings of the freshly dead while their children look on, paralysed by grief, saying “that’s our culture. Our tradition.”
The fact stands: we cannot deny civil rights to ANY human being.
Somehow all of this needs to be defended against a man whose only crime is to desire another man romantically and sexually. Or a woman who has the nerve to say that she does not want to marry a man because it’s a woman in whose arms she wants to sleep at night. A woman that she wants to kiss in the morning.
But no, we say. Homosexuals attack children! No. Paedophiles do that. Homosexuals are sexual predators! No, sexual predators are sexual predators. There are many heterosexual sexual predators too. Why don’t we hear outcry about that? Because that’s normal, you say?
Homosexuals rape men in prisons! No, Rapists do that. Homosexuals challenge gender norms and confuse our children! Gender so-called “norms” have challenged themselves in their own right from time immemorial. You may as well say that a woman with a briefcase in a suit going to work challenges her children’s idea of a gender norm. You can say that a man who is a chef/fashion designer/hairdresser challenges a child’s idea of a gender norm. You can say a single mother challenges a child’s idea of a gender norm . You know what confuses children? Lying that you will be there on Saturday to see them, and then not showing up. That’s a thing that heterosexual parents do all the time. No one’s defending the children from that kind of confusion. You know what else confuses children? Not talking to them about sex and who they are, and then sending them out to the world with nothing to work with and blaming them when they make mistakes that you never told them existed. You know what confuses children? Telling them “Don’t get pregnant.” And nothing else.
That FUCKING confuses them.
‘Homosexuals are prostitutes!’ Well, so are heterosexuals. Why don’t you protest about that? A guy from a cast I was in once told me that that was because it was normal. It’s normal for men to have to pay for sex from women, but a man who is sexually desired by another man is somehow wrong because that’s dirty. So that essentially means that dirty is OK but only when women are the ones spread with it, because they kind of deserve it.
And these are the people who represent Jesus and salvation and God’s so called love out there. So it becomes “for God so loved the heterosexual middle class married (one wife two mistresses and sleeping with the maid) church-going male that whosoever among them believes in him shall not perish.”
And everyone who does not fall into that category kind of has to figure themselves out.
And those are the family values that we are defending.
There is nothing in this family values sign about insulting someone who sees life and love a different way than you do (or about being heterosexual).
So homosexuals have been called ‘dogs and prostitutes’? I’ll tell you one thing. Dogs will take care of each other in the street. Will adopt each other’s babies when a parent dies. Prostitutes defend each other and will have a way to call each other to fend off an evil client who attacks one of them. They will share homes, and sit and speak words of comfort to men who are scared to go home. They will be arms of solace to the broken, will visit their children when they have time off, and take each other to hospital when they are ill.
So, tell me what your family values are again.
Many men who would gladly call homosexuals ‘dogs’ yet have never paid child supportand have no idea where their child is getting diapers, formula and money for paediatrician visits from. The Bible calls YOU worse than an unbeliever.
You think about that.
You reduce your God to someone who would pick and choose whether to love you and everything you are in your darkest places (which you are STILL keeping secret from Him). To someone you can assign actions to. But you will not give space to another human being who is living an unimaginably difficult truth in an unimaginably difficult open and not at all harming you with that truth.
You would not want to be reduced to a sexual identity, and yet you do it to others and continue to demean them. A man would not want to be sexually confronted by another man, imagined as a sexual object and followed with unwanted, aggressive pursuit. And yet men do this to women every day, and that’s ok. A lot of heterosexual men imagine that all gay men would be after them. We all know the names they would call a woman who suffered from a similar delusion of grandeur.
Every prostitute that came into contact with Jesus was lifted up. Every single fallen woman. Was given another chance. There is not one place where a prostitute and Jesus were in the same chapter and she left having been beaten and insulted. Think about that.
I don’t think the world will ever agree on the issues surrounding gender and sexual identity. Or the church.
But I know that I can never understand what it takes to be openly gay – or even closeted. To have to weigh up and consider a million things. Wondering if you will be safe to be who you are in front of this person or that person. To be called evil names by your family and shunned for things you have no control over. To have your perceived intentions and every word judged and painted with evil before you even act or speak. To be reduced to who you choose to desire and how you choose to relate sexually within every conversation.
I don’t think Jesus would sanction the hatred the global church has shown to the LGBTIQ community. Or their attempts to deny them civil rights. Or speak for who He can love or can’t.
I’m a single 28 year old female. I have already been judged for my body size, my liking books, my vehement opinions, my choice of clothing, my career path, my solitary status and my social habits and the world has shared ad lib to me how I should change to be more acceptable. How I can be married, if only I would do this and that, because clearly on my own I am less than and will always be. I have been judged already and the judgements continue every day. Please know that they are judging YOU too.
So to the gay community – I am sorry.
I am sorry for all the hatred you have already received from humanity. I cannot imagine how you can still have hope for love and community regardless, and I have so much to learn from you. I hope you will teach me with the grace you continue to show a world that has been cruel beyond measure to you. I am sorry I have not defended you more. I will not be making that mistake again. I am sorry that people have claimed to speak for Jesus in that regard. I hope you will believe me when I say Jesus will not do that. I hope you will believe me when I say that if Jesus can love me just as I am, He can love you too. That He DOES love you too. As you are. No matter what they say.
And to all ‘prostitutes and dogs‘, welcome to my family. You are of value to me.
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